JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY STUDIES
HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL SCIENCE
Under the Direction of the
Departments of History, Political Economy, and
THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
SAMUEL RHEA GAMMON, JR., PH.D.
Professor of History in Austin College
THE JOHNS HOPKINS PRESS
SERIES XL No. i
JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY STUDIES
HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL SCIENCE
Under the Direction of the
Departments of History, Political Economy, and
THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
SAMUEL RHEA GAMMON, JR., PH.D.
Professor of History in Austin College
THE JOHNS HOPKINS PRESS
COPYRIGHT 1922 BY
THE JOHNS HOPKINS PRESS
THE NEW CJU PRINTING COMPANY
CHAPTER I. Party Reorganization, 1824-1828 n
CHAPTER II. The Antimasons 33
CHAPTER III. The National Republicans 53
CHAPTER IV. The Democrats 72
CHAPTER V. The Injection of the Bank into the Cam
CHAPTER VI. The Conclusion of the Campaign 135
An account of the presidential campaign of 1832, it may
be well to state, cannot be confined solely to that presiden
tial year, as might perhaps be done with a present day na
tional campaign. Today our sharply differentiated, perma
nently organized parties have a definite political machinery
which functions rapidly and efficiently in designating their
candidates and in stating the platforms upon which they will
go before the country. Consequently our national cam
paigns now are limited wholly to the presidential year, one
might almost say to the time embraced between April and
November of that year. This speed and precision of oper
ation is due largely to our superior means of travel and
Presidential campaigns during the period 1824-1832 were
facilitated by no such present-day means as railroads, tele
graphs, telephones, good roads and automobiles. Then, the
circulation of both individual and information was limited by
such speed as could be extracted from equine motive power
traveling over roads which often hardly merited the name.
This state of affairs the river steamboat did little to improve
owing to its limited application. For this, if for no other
reason, presidential campaigns were of much longer dura
tion then than now. In addition, it was a period of political
change; new parties were developing, party principles were
becoming fixed, and new methods of choosing candidates
were being tried. All these causes operated to make the
presidential campaign of the period an affair of never less
than two years duration. That such was the case is shown
by the fact that the campaign of 1824 was well under way
before the close of 1822, that of 1828 began as soon as its
predecessor closed, and the opening of that of 1832, by no
stretch of imagination, can be put later than July 4, 1830,
the date Gay s campaign for the presidency was launched.
v jij PREFACE
For these reasons then, any adequate treatment of the cam
paign of 1832 necessitates considerable attention to much
that occurred in the four years following Jackson s first
election in November, 1828.
In this monograph the writer s aim has been to show the
party development and the maneuvers which affected the
course and outcome of the presidential campaign of 1832,
and in this movement appears the first application of the
nominating convention to political practice. So much has
been written on the Jacksonian period that a new study re
quires justification, but the topics here emphasized have
never been adequately treated.
So closely are the presidential campaigns of 1824, 1828
and 1832 connected by the two topics, the development of
political parties and the early application of the nominating
convention idea, that adequate treatment of the campaign of
1832 involves a study of the two immediately preceding it-
It was this which makes necessary the brief summary of the
campaigns of 1824 and 1828 contained in the first chapter.
In this chapter and elsewhere I have pointed out, I believe
for the first time, the significance of the first state nominat
ing convention in Pennsylvania, the germ and precedent for
its successor, the national nominating convention, and that
the idea of the latter had been suggested as early as Febru
ary, 1822. I have shown how Antimasonry came to in
augurate in American politics the use of the nominating con
vention. It has never before been clearly shown how en
tirely a one-man party the National Republican was in the
campaign of 1832, and how hard pressed it was for a leading
issue on which to oppose Jackson. I have endeavored to set
forth in some detail the internal struggle for the succession
in the Democratic party and the bearing of the resulting
breach between Jackson and Calhoun on the campaign. In
the same connection I have tried to correct the view that the
Democratic convention of 1832 owed its origin solely to
Jackson s determination to force Van Buren on the party as
vice president. What actually took place in the three na-
tional conventions aside from the bare references to the
nominees and the two-thirds rule regarding their establish
ment of precedents, such as the unit rule, which are in use
today, is a neglected subject on which I have tried to throw
light. Some new light has also been thrown on the political
tactics of the United States Bank. Further research has
brought out clearly the political paradox of 1832, a situation
where Antimasons and National Republicans were both doing
their utmost against Jackson yet were unable to unite behind
one candidate, though both parties were well aware that cer
tain defeat awaited their failure to combine. I have also
established as nearly as possible the way in which the party
names " National Republican," " Democratic " and " Demo
cratic Republican " were used during the campaigns of 1824,
1828 and 1832, and their status at the close of the latter con
test. This topic has been placed in the appendix, as it suited
the structure of the monograph better there than if attached
to either the chapter on the Democrats or that on the Na
This study was undertaken at the suggestion of Professor
John H. Latane, of the Johns Hopkins University, to whom,
with Professor John M. Vincent, also of the Johns Hopkins
University, I wish to express my sincere appreciation and
hearty thanks for their helpful interest and advice. To
Professor J. S. Bassett. of Smith College, I am also in
debted for valuable suggestions. I desire to make special
acknowledgment of the unfailing kindness and courtesy of
those in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress,
and particularly of the valuable assistance rendered me by
the Assistant-Chief, Mr. John C. Fitzpatrick, whose kind
ness in lending me the proof sheets of Van Buren s Auto
biography prior to its publication so appreciably facilitated
my work. Acknowledgment is also due to Mr. Charles
Fickus, of the Maryland Historical Society Library, for his
help in locating some useful Antimasonic pamphlets and
S. R. G.
THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
PARTY REORGANIZATION, 1824-1828
James Monroe s second administration terminated the line
of Revolutionary founders of the United States which had
filled the presidency since the inception of that office. It
likewise terminated the so-called " Virginia dynasty " which
had uninterruptedly supplied the presidential material during
the last twenty-four years. These two circumstances made
possible the complete disintegration of the old Republican
party which had come into power with the "Virginia dy
nasty " and was now to make a simultaneous exit.
The prime factor in the Republican party s long domina
tion of national politics under direction of the Virginia line
of presidents was the Virginia-New York alliance. This
combination had been founded by Jefferson and indoctri
nated with his political philosophy. Its power rested upon
the political alliance of Virginia and New York, supported
by certain States greatly under the influence of their ex
ample; namely, New Jersey in the North, and Kentucky,
North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia in the South. Under
this combination, to Virginia went the presidential and to
New York went the vice-presidential selection. The Presi
dent s influence and preference exercised such weight in the
designation of his successor that, immediately the latter was
known, he was styled by his enemies " the heir apparent." x
1 Charming, History of the United States, 1789-1815, vol. iv,
chap, vi; Bassett, Life of Andrew Jackson, vol. i, pp. 323-324; cf.
Henry Adams, History of the United States, 1801-1807, vol. ii, pp.
12 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
Just prior to the opening of the campaign of 1824, tne
mainsprings of the Virginia-New York alliance were two
organizations known as the Richmond Junto of Virginia and
the Albany Regency of New York. Each of these political
organizations dominated the politics of its particular State,
and hence of the adjoining States in so far as the latter in
clined to follow the political lead of Virginia or New York
in a presidential contest. The Junto was the looser organ
ization of the two, being composed of some dozen men of
high character, political intelligence and prominent families,
with no one individual predominating. The Junto s mouth
piece was the Richmond Enquirer, whose editor, Thomas
Ritchie, was one of the members. The Regency had been
born in the factional struggles of New York State politics
between the followers of DeWitt Clinton and Martin Van
Buren. By 1822 the latter faction under Van Buren s able
leadership was completely victorious, and their leader the
political master of the State. The Albany Regency was a
consequence of this victory and comprised the faction s
leaders in the State, all upright, able men, most of whom
held office of some sort at Albany. Its mouthpiece was the
Albany Argus, edited by one of its members, Edwin Cros-
well. So effective was this machine s centralized control
that, excepting about two years, it dominated the State, and
was a prominent factor in national politics for over twenty
The Republican party s character had changed markedly
during the quarter century in which it had dominated the
country s politics. Its rival, the Federalist party, had died,
attainted with disloyalty to the country in the War of 1812,
so that since 1816 it had been unopposed by any political
enemy, and had come to embrace a vast majority of the en
tire electorate. The disappearance of political opposition
2 Lynchburg Virginian, quoted in Richmond Enquirer, May 6,
1823; cf. Niles Weekly Register, vol. xxvii, pp. 1-5, 17-21; for
Regency, Thurlow Weed, Autobiography, p. 103; Jabez D. Ham
mond, History of Political Parties in New York, vol. ii, p. 157.
PARTY REORGANIZATION, 1824-1828 13
and the country s war-born tendency toward nationalism
had been chiefly responsible for the change in the party s
original character. The alteration had been furthered by
Monroe s policy of appointing men to office with slight at
tention to their former political creed, and likewise by his
inclination to favor internal improvements at national ex
pense. Consequently, by 1822 the line of demarcation be
tween a Republican and a member of the former Federalist
party was so dim as to be practically invisible, and the old
party landmarks had so far vanished that the Republican
party was sponsor for the Bank of the United States, the
protective tariff, and was markedly inclining toward a cen
tralized nationalistic policy relative to internal improvements. 8
The presidential campaign of 1824 was, therefore, an intra-
party contest in which all the candidates, broadly speaking,
professed the same principles. Consequently the contest was
fought primarily on the basis of the relative personal fitness
of the candidates for the presidency a campaign of oppos
ing persons rather than principles, the latter being subordi
nated to the man and used principally as incidental to his elec
tion. Hence the contest necessarily hinged on the method
by which the candidate was to be nominated or selected
and therefore elected. The struggle for the coveted office
was the immediate factor which shattered the Republican
party into five fairly distinct factions.
Monroe was hardly well under way with his second admin
istration before mention was being made of various indi
viduals to succeed him. Indeed, as early as April, 1822,
there were sixteen or seventeen such would-be candidates
before the public. 4 This number before the end of the year
had narrowed to Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, William H.
3 Van Buren, Autobiography (John C. Fitzpatrick, Ed.), Annual
Report of the American Historical Association for the year 1918,
vol. ii, p. 124 ; Niles Register, vol. xxiii, p. 401 ; Richardson, Mes
sages and Papers of the Presidents, vol. ii, pp. 144-183; James
Parton, Life of Andrew Jackson, vol. iii, pp. 86-87.
*Niles Register, vol. xxii, p. 130.
14 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
Crawford, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Each
of these had entered the field from a different angle and
looked with more or less confidence to various sources of
support for success.
Clay s course for several years had been shaped toward the
presidency. Popular in the West, one of the " war hawks,"
negotiator at Ghent, several times Speaker of the House, he
relied on this record, but more particularly on his advocacy
of a high protective tariff and the construction of roads and
canals at national expense the "American System" and
of increase in the military establishment to secure him gen
eral support, especially in commercial and manufacturing
New York, Pennsylvania and New England. 5 Calhoun, like
Clay, relied on vigorous support of a nationalistic program,
the Bank and tariff particularly, and upon his able admin
istration of the War Department in Monroe s cabinet, to
gether with his popularity in South Carolina and Pennsyl
vania. 8 Adams, favorite son of New England, negotiator
at Ghent, generally admired for his skillful handling of the
Department of State, a vigorous nationalist, had also in his
favor the feeling that the North was now entitled to fill the
presidential chair. 7
Crawford had been near supplanting Monroe for the nom
ination in 1816, had been several years Secretary of the
Treasury, an office controlling a great deal of patronage, and
in addition was favored by Jefferson and the Virginia in
fluence. He further had the support of a large part of the
administration press. He professed Republican principles
more strictly Jeffersonian as to States Rights and internal im
provements than did Clay, Calhoun or Adams. More effec
tive still, his cause was the cause of the Regency and the
5 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 116; Thomas H. Benton, Thirty
Years View, vol. i, pp. 22, 32.
6 Van Buren, ibid.; Hammond, vol. ii, p. 126; Gaillard Hunt, John
C. Calhoun, p. 48.
7 Hammond, vol. ii, pp. 127-128 ; Parton, vol. ii, pp. 655-656 ; Miles
Register, vol. xxv, pp. 340, 360, 370.
PARTY REORGANIZATION, 1824-1828 15
Junto, and Van Buren, his chief manager, was untiring in
his behalf, making several trips to Virginia to coordinate
the efforts of the alliance and to confer with Jefferson and
other leaders of the party. 8 Jackson s chances rested on the
general admiration of his military record, the almost idol
atrous worship in which he was held by the democracy of
the country, especially in the West. His views on both
tariff and internal improvements were not definitely known,
but as far as could be ascertained from his expressions and
votes in Congress, he favored both so far as they contributed
to the country s military strength, and no farther. 9
Judging by the views of these candidates on the subject
of internal improvements at national expense, and by the
expressions of contemporary political leaders, by the middle
of 1823 there was a barely visible tendency in the Republican
party to divide into two general groups on opposite sides of
the question of a national, as opposed to a States Rights, pol
icy concerning internal improvements. Inclined, but not pos
itively committed, to the strict construction attitude were
Crawford and Jackson with their followings, so far at least
as the latter heeded the constitutional side of the question.
Strongly advocating the loose construction view of the na
tional government s powers on this score were Adams, Clay
and Calhoun, with their supporters. The tendency was
noticed by Jefferson, Van Buren and Benton, the latter
stating it thus :
The candidates for the Presidency spread their sails upon the
ocean of internal improvements. Congress was full of projects for
different objects of improvement, and the friends of each candidate
exerted themselves in rivalry of each other, under the supposition
that their opinions would stand for those of their principals. Mr.
8 Jefferson, Writings (P. L. Ford, Ed.), vol. x, pp. 235-236; Van
Buren to G. A. Worth, March 16, 1822, M. Ulshoeffer to Van
Buren, April 2, 1822, Van Buren to Smith Thompson, June 4, 1823,
Van Buren, MSS.; Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 131, 177, 514.
9 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 449; Annals of Congress, i8th
Cong., ist sess., vol. i, pp. 583-738, passim; Bassett, Life of Andrew
Jackson, vol. i, pp. 344-345; Jackson to Coleman, April 26, 1824, in
Niles Register, vol. xxvi, p. 245.
1 6 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
Adams, Mr. Clay, and Mr. Calhoun were the avowed advocates of
the measure, going thoroughly for a national system of internal im
provements; Mr. Crawford and General Jackson under limitations
and qualifications. 10
The number of candidates made it certain that if all re
mained contenders for the office none would have a majority
of the electoral votes, and the election would end in the
House of Representatives. This was universally regarded
as a very undesirable termination, but there agreement ended.
The congressional caucus, the mode of selecting the party s
candidate in use for twenty years past, pleased nobody ex
cept the Crawford faction. It was this need for some better
method than the caucus for fixing upon a candidate that pro
duced the first suggestions that a national nominating con
vention of the party should be resorted to. The first of these
was in an anonymous letter to Hezekiah Niles in February,
1822 ; lx Thomas Ritchie made another like suggestion in his
paper of August 13, 1822 ; 12 and a third was made by a mem
ber of the Pennsylvania delegation in Congress in a letter
to the editor of the Franklin Gazette dated January 6, i824. 13
The idea was not adopted, however, primarily it would seem,
because the divisions in the electorate caused by the several
factions prevented the general party cooperation necessary
to the establishment of this large piece of political machinery.
Under the leadership of Van Buren, who was in close con
tact with the Junto and the older Republican leaders in Vir
ginia, the Virginia-New York alliance backed Crawford s
candidacy, and by the summer of 1823 his chances were of
the best. At this juncture he was prostrated by a paralytic
stroke and for a time his life was despaired of. This nec
essarily damaged his chances with the country, but the Junto-
Regency combination would not withdraw him. Seeking to
place upon him the stamp of " regular " candidate, they began
10 Benton, Thirty Years View, vol. i, p. 22 ; cf . Van Buren, Auto
biography, p. 116; Jefferson, Writings, vol. x, p. 282.
11 Niles Register, vol. xxi, pp. 403-404.
12 Richmond Enquirer, August 13, 1822.
13 Niles Register, vol. xxv, p. 306.
PARTY REORGANIZATION, 1824-1828 l*J
moves looking to the holding- of a congressional caucus for
No congressional caucus had been held since that of 1816,
and this one had aroused considerable adverse criticism. The
functioning of such a caucus consistently with party harmony
was possible only when a majority of Republican sentiment
favored one candidate, a condition emphatically not the case
in the pending campaign. Hence the Crawford faction s
move for such a caucus savored so strongly of an attempt to
force him upon the party as to bring on a revolt against the
old method, in which all the other factions participated.
Nevertheless the Crawford managers persisted and called a
congressional caucus in February, 1824. This was so far
from having present a majority of the members of Congress
as to merit the name " rump." 14 Its nomination of Craw
ford and Gallatin injured the former s chances much more
than it benefited them. 15
The anti-caucus revolt had really been born in the demo
cratic West with the nominations of Jackson and Clay by
caucuses of their respective state legislatures in the latter
part of 1822. These nominations had been endorsed by
other state legislatures, using the same mode, in various
Western and Southwestern States. All of these state nom
inations were designed to anticipate any move by the con
gressional caucus, and this means of forestalling its action
was also adopted by the supporters of Adams and Calhoun
in the East.
Jackson, more than any other candidate, was a man of the
masses, hence his chief strength lay with the democratic
West and Southwest. When first announced, his candidacy
was not regarded seriously, 16 but this view underwent a
14 Ibid., pp. 388-392, 401-406.
13 Jackson to Donelson, February 12, 1824, A. J. Donelson MSS. ;
Daniel Webster, Private Correspondence (Fletcher Webster, Ed.),
vol. i, p. 346.
16 Van Buren to G. C. Verplanck, December 22, 1822, Van Buren
MSS.; Richmond Enquirer, July 30, 1822.
l8 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
rapid revision during 1823. During the closing months of
this year Jackson sentiment spread like wildfire through the
State of Pennsylvania. 17 This enthusiastic adoption of
Jackson by Pennsylvania had several highly important results.
It made Jackson the leading candidate by fortifying his
western and southwestern strength with the twenty-eight
electoral votes of Pennsylvania, a position he retained until
the election entered the House of Representatives. It an
nihilated Calhoun s presidential candidacy, thereby causing
him to withdraw in Jackson s favor in return for the latter s
support of him for vice-president, 18 thus breaking ground
for the future alliance of South and West. Lastly, the
Pennsylvania stampede to Jackson introduced the genuine
nominating convention, on a state scale, into American na
This convention was in all respects the germ of the pres
ent-day national nominating convention. The call for it was
issued by a caucus of the Jacksonians in the state legislature
and representation in it was apportioned according to the
electoral strength of the constituent units, the counties. In
its organization it resorted to the plural number of vice-
presidents for honorary purposes, and conducted business,
in part at least, by the committee system. It made presi
dential nominations, chose a ticket of electors and issued an
address to the people, the precedent for the modern plat
For all the desperate efforts of the Regency and Junto in
behalf of Crawford, his prospects remained gloomy, and this
gloom was accentuated by a complete overturn by the Clin-
tonians in New York of the Regency s control of the State. 20
17 Niles Register, vol. xxv, pp. 167, 194, 242, 258.
18 Nathan Sargent, Public Men and Events, vol. i, p. 41 ; Niles
Register, vol. xxv, pp. 258, 407-408; vol. xxvi, pp. 19-20; Van
Buren to B. F. Butler, February 2, 1824, Van Buren MSS.
19 Niles Register, vol. xxvi, pp. 19-20.
20 Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 142, 145, 149 ; Hammond, vol.
ii, pp. 122, 131-132, 163, 165, 175-178, 188; Weed, Autobiography, pp.
PARTY REORGANIZATION, 1824-1828 19
This caused the Georgian the loss of nearly all that State s
thirty-six electoral votes and brought him into the House of
Representatives, ahead of Clay it is true, but hopelessly be
hind Jackson and Adams, the respective electoral vote being
for Jackson 99, Adams 84, Crawford 41 and Clay 37."
Thanks to the support of both the Adams and the Jackson
following, 22 Calhoun was elected vice-president by a large
majority of the electoral vote.
The election of John Quincy Adams by the House of
Representatives was directly due to the influence and per
sonal efforts of Henry Clay. 23 The Kentuckian s assistance
had been courted by both Adams and Jackson men. Hence
the charge that his support of Adams had been secured by
means of a promise of the State Department, and originating
with one of the Jacksonians, is not surprising, the less so,
in fact, since the campaign just ended had been mainly one
of personalities and recriminations. Although the charge
against Clay was not proven, its falsity was never conclu
sively demonstrated; but true or false, it was destined to
play a prominent part in shaping party combinations.
Among the results of the campaign, the first to be accom
plished was the complete obliteration of the already faint line
between the former Federalist and Republican parties. The
most potent factor in this had been Jackson s candidacy,
coming as it did on the heels of Monroe s amalgamation
policy. The Tennessean s large popular vote and electoral
plurality were due to the general admiration of his military-
record and to a widespread conviction of his integrity and
sincerity. To these was added also the widespread aversion
to the caucus system. 24 Furthermore, some letters that
Jackson himself had written to Monroe some eight years
21 Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 144-145; Hammond, vol. ii, pp.
177, 178, 188; Niles Register, vol. xxvii, p. 382.
22 Niles Register, vol. xxvii, p. 382
23 Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 149-153; Hammond, vol. ii, p.
24 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 449.
20 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
earlier had been used in the campaign. These contained an
appeal to Monroe to exterminate the monster of party spirit
by appointing to office men of ability and integrity regardless
of their former party affiliation. 25 These letters must have
been of considerable effect in drawing to Jackson the sup
port of former Federalists, for so many of them supported
him that, according to Van Buren, the vote he received was
" a mixed one given by former adherents of all parties." 26
Another result of the campaign, produced by the move
ment toward popular nominations, had been the complete
demolition of the congressional caucus as a means of nom
inating presidential candidates. This old method had been
replaced by the individual state nominations made by party
caucuses in the legislatures. This substitute was effective,
but far too prone to militate against the unity and discipline
of an organized party to remain other than a temporary ex
pedient. Suggestions for a national nominating convention
had been made, however, and the state nominating conven
tion in Pennsylvania had established a precedent admirably
adapted to a democracy, based as it was upon popular repre
sentation apportioned according to electoral strength. The
disappearance of the caucus, furthermore, transferred the
seat of president-making, that is, the selecting of the party
candidates, from a relative handful of individuals in Wash
ington, to the country at large; hence in future campaigns
every cross-roads, hamlet, village and town would be able to
A third result of the campaign was the dissolution of the
Virginia-New York alliance. Only Georgia, among the
four States formerly dominated by Virginia, had remained
loyal to Crawford, the remainder being distributed between
Jackson, Adams and Clay. New Jersey had broken away
from New York s leading, and the latter State had over-
25 Jackson to Monroe, October 23, November 12, 1816, January
6, 1817, Jackson MSS.
26 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 449.
PARTY REORGANIZATION, 1824-1828 21
thrown the Regency s control. This failure of the Regency
had been the prime, if not the sole, cause of Crawford s
crushing defeat, and since failure is one of the deadliest sins
a political machine can commit, it is not surprising that re
lations between Junto and Regency for a time totally ceased. 27
The most important single result of the campaign was the
shattering into five factions of the old Republican party. A
corollary of this, but equally important, was the tendency,
faintly visible as early as 1823, of these five factions to co
alesce into two groups the one very mildly in favor of, the
other wholly committed to, a nationalistic program. The
leaders of the first were Crawford and Jackson, of the
second, Clay, Adams and Calhoun. 28
Clay s acceptance of the State Department from Adams
entailed results more far-reaching than are perceptible at
first glance. It cemented indissolubly the political fortunes
of the two men, and was immediately responsible for the
merging of their respective factions, readily possible from
their entire accord as to a nationalistic policy founded on
loose construction. Clay s acceptance lent color to the " cor
rupt bargain " charge, laid against him by the Jacksonians, of
obtaining his office in return for supporting Adams election
in the House of Representatives. This charge was at once
circulated all over the country and kept resounding for the
next four years. This with the other furious attacks on the
new administration rendered it impossible for Clay to with
draw from his position even had he desired.
The least known of the consequences of Clay s union with
Adams was its effect on Calhoun. The latter, elected vice-
president by virtue of the support of both Adams and
Jackson s followers, was in a position to incline his political
strength toward either of them. His course seems to have
been dictated purely by self-interest. As soon as he learned
27 Philip N. Nicholas to Van Buren, October 13, 1826, Van
28 Cf. Benton, Thirty Years View, vol. i, p. 22 ; Van Buren, Auto
biography, p. 116; Jefferson, Writings, vol. x, p. 282.
22 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
of Adams* intention to appoint Clay Secretary of State, and
therefore his probable successor, Calhoun made it known to
the President that in this event he would join the opposition
and assist in organizing it behind Jackson ; he even went so
far as to suggest what men he preferred in the new cabinet. 29
Adams ignored this threat and Calhoun within the year
turned to the Jacksonians.
The simultaneous wreck of Crawford s health and presiden
tial aspirations resulted in his withdrawal from national poli
tics. His followers, who regarded themselves and were gener
ally considered doctrinally as the true Republicans of the old
school among the adherents of the late Virginia-New York
alliance, remained aloof from initial attacks on Adams and
Clay. Badly disorganized, they were now confronted with
the problem of choosing a new political chief. Jackson s in
definite constitutional views and uncertain attitude toward
internal improvements caused them some hesitation in join
ing him; but between his uncertainty and the nationalist
tendencies of the Adams-Clay group they naturally preferred
Adams inaugural address and his first annual message to
Congress, particularly the latter, gave all loose construction-
ists a wholly gratuitous shove Jacksonward. Its phrase as to
the folly of being " palsied by the will of our constituents " 30
in the vigorous prosecution of a centralized nationalistic pro
gram, was the signal for a furious outburst of denunciation
from the Jackson, Crawford and Calhoun press. Following
his inaugural address, which had been in tone a forecast of
his first annual message, the confirmation of Clay s nomina
tion had been attacked in the Senate by the Jacksonians,
supported by a few Crawford and Calhoun senators. 31 In
29 John Quincy Adams, Memoirs (C. F. Adams, Ed.), vol. vi, p.
30 Richardson, Messages and Papers, vol. ii, pp. 311-317. The
phrase quoted above occurred in his first annual message to Con
31 N iles Register, vol. xxviii, p. 17; Benton, Thirty Years View,
vol. i, p. 55.
PARTY REORGANIZATION, 1824-1828 23
the following April John Marshall wrote Clay from Rich
mond that there were signs of a violent opposition to the ad
ministration forming. 32 In June Van Buren openly came
out in favor of Jackson for next president. 33 In short, the
former Calhoun and Crawford men were gravitating rapidly
toward Jackson, and this gain more than counterbalanced any
losses resulting from the defection of his Federalist follow
ing to Adams. Hence the President s first annual message
was tantamount to driving home a nail already started. It
now only remained to clinch it ; namely, to unite firmly be
hind Jackson the Regency- Junto combination in New York
In Congress the opposition to the administration rapidly
solidified. Van Buren and Calhoun conferred and agreed in
attacking the President s proposed Panama Mission. Van
Buren led the fight on the Senate floor, ably seconded by
Randolph, by Hayne of South Carolina and by Benton of
Missouri. The attacks were by no means limited to this sub
ject alone, but embraced every conceivable means of harass
ing or discrediting the policy of the administration before
As a result of the war upon the executive in and out of
Congress, by the time that body adjourned in May, 1826, the
lines, both party and constitutional, upon which the next
campaign was to be fought were clearly drawn. It would
be Adams or Jackson; a nationalistic governmental policy,
or the rule of the masses and reform. The campaign was
to be based, however, more upon the personality of the can
didates than upon the principles which they represented. In
a contest of this kind all the advantage would be with Jack
son. Adams, though a statesman, trained administrator and
diplomatist, was totally lacking in the personal qualities that
make up a leader. He was much too stiff, too cold and
32 John Marshall to Clay, April 4, 1825, Clay, Private Corre
spondence (Colton, Ed.), p. 121.
88 Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 198-199.
24 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
austere, to arouse popular enthusiasm or to attract a large
personal following. Jackson was everything Adams was not
in this respect. His picturesque career, combativeness, de
votion to friends and fiery courage had made him the idol of
the West, the more so since that section as a whole was con
vinced that his defeat in the House of Representatives had
been due to political trickery and to a disregard of the popu
lar will. 34 Furthermore, since the abolition of the congres
sional caucus, nominations and president-making could no
longer be exclusively manipulated from Washington, and
this gave Jackson s democratic following much more weight
than it had possessed in the late campaign.
Jackson s campaign was carefully organized and ably con
ducted. Composing his support were three distinct elements
or wings : the followers of Calhoun, principally in Pennsyl
vania, the Carolinas and Alabama; the former Crawford
strength, chiefly in New York, Virginia and Georgia; Jack
son s own democratic following in the West and in Pennsyl
vania. The Calhoun wing of the party was dominant at
Washington. It was led by Calhoun himself, supported by
a number of other prominent men of national reputation, and
though numerically the weakest section of Jackson s support,
in personal influence it was the strongest. It also controlled
the party organ, the United States Telegraph, 35 whose editor,
Duff Green, was father-in-law of Calhoun s son. Next to
the Calhoun group in the prominence of its leaders was the
Crawford wing, led by Van Buren. This group, provided
the Regency could regain control of New York and re
establish the alliance with the Junto, would be decidedly
stronger numerically than that of Calhoun; but aside from
Van Buren, it possessed no man of the caliber of Hayne,
Cheves, Dallas, McDume and others in Calhoun s train. In
Van Buren, however, it had a leader without a peer in the
34 Undated paper in John McLean s handwriting, apparently
written about 1828, in McLean MSS.
35 Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 514-515.
PARTY REORGANIZATION, 1824-1828 25
country for political acumen, judgment and management.
Strongest in numbers, Jackson s western and Pennsylvania
supporters formra the basis of his strength, but they were
weak in leaders of national importance. Such men as Hugh
L. White, John H. Eaton, Kendall and Hill were numerous
among them, but of leaders of the Calhoun type as to repu
tation, prominence and culture, they had few, and none at
all comparable to Van Buren as a political manager and or
It had been made painfully clear to the Jacksonians, that
to achieve success against an opponent who, like Adams,
could rely upon the solid 51 electoral votes of New England,
at least two of the three largest States New York, Pennsyl
vania and Virginia were necessary to their candidate in ad
dition to his southern and western support. Upon Pennsyl
vania they could rely, but the vote of New York and Vir
ginia was another matter. In Virginia prejudice against an
administration headed by Jackson, and therefore redolent of
the masses, was hardly less strong than the dislike of Adams
latitudinarianism. 36 In New York, Jackson had had little
or no support in 1824, hence it is apparent how essential to
his cause was the reestablishment of the Regency s control
of New York under Van Buren and a renewal of the en
tente between it and the Junto in Virginia.
The achievement of this constituted Van Buren s most
vital service to the Jacksonian cause. By adroit handling he
and the Regency not only regained political control of New
York through reducing Clinton s support to a bare majority
in the state election in 1826, but they also successfully alien
ated him from Adams and Clay and secured his not wholly
enthusiastic adherence to Jackson. 37 By apparently doing
no more than allowing the Richmond Junto to realize the
rather unpalatable alternative of choosing between Adams
36 Nicholas to Van Buren, October 13, 1826, Van Buren MSS.
% 37 Niles Register, vol. xxxi, pp. 178, 210, 242; Van Buren, Auto
biography, pp. 15^-165 ; Hammond, vol. ii, pp. 207, 232-235, 256-257.
26 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
uncompromising nationalistic proclivities and the rule of the
western democracy through Jackson, Van Buren, by Octo
ber, 1826, found the Junto again ready to join forces with
the Regency in supporting Jackson. 38 He therefore lost no
time in welcoming this accession to the party s strength, and
thus under his leadership the New York-Virginia alliance
was restored. 39 Unlike its combination, broken in 1824,
New York was now the senior partner, and the alliance s
political strength was now limited mainly to the two States.
Van Buren s services to the Jackson party did not end
with reforming the New York -Virginia alliance. He worked
hard to harmonize the Crawford and Calhoun wings of the
party in the East from New York to Georgia. Immediately
after restoring cooperation between Regency and Junto, ac
companied by his lieutenant Cambreleng, he traveled from
New York to Georgia through Virginia and the Carolinas,
stopping for some days with James Hamilton and other Cal
houn leaders in Charleston, and visiting his former chief,
Crawford, in Georgia. 40 In addition to this, he corresponded
with Calhoun and Jackson leaders in Pennsylvania, 41 and
cooperated in harmony with Calhoun in Washington during
the sessions of Congress. 42
From the termination of the congressional elections of
1826-1827, in which the Jacksonians everywhere made large
gains, until the presidential election, the campaign raged with
a fury unprecedented in American politics. In its course
principles were entirely subordinated to personalities, and
in this respect it far outstripped the campaign of 1824, in
which the abuse and recrimination had at least been dis
tributed among several candidates. Now the struggle was
38 Nicholas to Van Buren, October 13, 1826, Van Buren MSS.
89 Undated letter in Van Buren s hand in reply to that of Nicho
las ; Van Buren to Ritchie, January 13, 1827, Van Buren MSS. ; Clay
to Brook, December 23, 1826, Clay, Correspondence, p. 153.
*Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 169, 367; Niles Register, vol.
xxxii, p. 198.
41 Ingham to Van Buren, September 26, 1828, Van Buren MSS.
42 Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 200-202, 514-517.
PARTY REORGANIZATION, 1824-1828 27
limited to two, with the entire nation supporting one or the
other, and the dominating principle was, anything to beat
Jackson or Adams as the case might be a question of the
superior fitness of the person to be selected rather than of
the political principles. One of the candidates was seeking
re-election to office, an office which, according to his enemies,
he held by virtue of a political bargain and sale; the other
was possessed of a highly spectacular past. With such
sources from which to draw charges and counter-charges,
it is not surprising that the campaign has never been sur
passed in our political history in bitterness of personal re
crimination and in the extent to which it carried the villifi-
cation and defamation not only of the candidates themselves,
but of their families and friends as well.
In this campaign the tendency, noted above, of factions to
align on opposite sides of the issue of a strongly nationalistic
and centralized governmental policy, completed its initial
stages. Two sharply defined political parties are plainly ap
parent before Adams had been in office a year. Marshall s
letter to Clay, warning him that "there is unquestionably a
party determined to oppose Mr. Adams at the next election,"
has already been noticed. 43 In January, 1826, Clay wrote
Webster of his perfect confidence that Adams would be
elected in spite of the opposition. 44 Later in the same year
he wrote him " at this time there are but two parties in the
Union, that of the administration, and the opposition." 45 In
another letter a few months later, he expressed the party
situation as follows : " It appears to me to be important that
we should, on all occasions, inculcate the incontestable truth
that now there are but two parties in the Union, the friends
and the enemies of the administration." 46
To the Crawford men who joined Jackson early in the
campaign, and who claimed to be the true Republicans of the
43 Marshall to Clay, April 4, 1825, Clay, Correspondence, p. 121.
44 Clay to Webster, January 14, 1826, Webster MSS.
45 Ibid., November 10, 1826.
48 Ibid., April 14, 1827.
28 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
school of 1798, Jackson s attitude on the question of strict
versus loose construction, while not as clear as they wished,
was far preferable to the latitudinarian views of Adams.
Both Albany Regency and Richmond Junto were clear
on that point. It was this very vagueness, almost amount
ing to equivocation, in Jackson s position, which had enabled
Calhoun and his followers to ally themselves with the Jack-
sonians in the late campaign.
As the anti-tariff agitation, beginning in 1823-1824, rose
in South Carolina, Jackson s non-committal attitude enabled
him to hold on to both the Pennsylvania and South Carolina
elements which constituted Calhoun s strength. Not so with
Calhoun. Pennsylvania, his former stronghold, remained in
favor of protection. South Carolina s violent revolt against
nationalism, part of which was her objection to the tariff of
1824, forced Calhoun to reverse his former nationalistic atti
tude. His change of heart was publicly announced on Feb
ruary 28, 1827, when the highly protective "woolens bill"
was before the Senate and a tie vote forced him as vice-pres
ident to pass or defeat the measure. 47 His vote against it,
a bill popular in Pennsylvania, weakened materially his polit
ical strength in that State and limited his following to the
South. Of his former Pennsylvania supporters all but rela
tively few, but these including several prominent state leaders
like Ingham, became staunch Jacksonians beyond Calhoun s
power to shake. On the other hand Jackson s tariff views
were sufficiently indefinite to hold the allegiance of the Cal
houn men in the South, more especially since Adams and
nationalism were the only alternatives.
In the last year of the campaign of 1828, the state conven
tion as a means of nominating presidential tickets reached
its highest development and widest use ; indeed, for the most
part it superseded the state legislative caucus for this pur-
47 Albany Argus, March 19, 1827; Van Buren, Autobiography, p.
PARTY REORGANIZATION, 1824-1828 2 9
pose, especially in the more democratic States. 48 In the use
of this instrumentality, Pennsylvania again led the way.
The conventions of both parties in this State met early in
January, 1828, their principal object in each case being the
vice-presidential nomination. Presidential candidates of
course were named, but this was merely endorsing an ac
complished fact. 49 The state nominating convention itself
was destined to be superseded in turn in the next campaign
by its logical offspring on a national scale, but continued in
use to some extent for a considerably longer period. Its
adoption in 1824, however, marks the first application of the
true nominating convention idea, with representation based
on the electoral strength of the component units, the counties.
One other event of the campaign should be noticed, the
birth of Antimasonry in New York, resulting from the ab
duction and probable murder of William Morgan. 50 So
rapidly did this party grow, that one year after Morgan s
disappearance it had elected fifteen members of the state
legislature, 51 and the Regency could not safely allow it to
join forces with the administration s supporters in the State.
There was danger that this would occur, for, while Adams
was not a Mason, Jackson was high in the counsels of the
order. Hence both Regency and Adams men worked to win
the support of the Antimasonic party. 52 In this contest the
Adams party was successful ; indeed its only hope of carry
ing the State was by virtue of Antimasonic aid. 53
48 Niles Register, vol. xxxiii, pp. 129, 315-316, 332-334; Richmond
Enquirer, January 10, 17, 1828; United States Telegraph, January
17, 22, 30, 1828; Pennsylvania Reporter and Democratic Herald,
January 6, n, 1828.
* 9 Niles Register, vol. xxxiii, pp. 316, 332-3345 National Gazette,
January 10, 1828; Pennsylvania Reporter, January n, 1828; United
States Telegraph, January 17, 1828; Van Buren, Autobiography,
50 Weed, Autobiography, p. 242; Hammond, vol. ii, pp. 378-385.
51 Charles McCarthy, "The Antimasonic Party," in Annual Re
port of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, vol.
i, chap, xvi, pp. 371-374; Albany Argus, November 23, 1827.
52 Hammond, vol. ii, p. 386.
53 Thurlow Weed Barnes, A Memoir of Thurlow Weed, p. 32.
3O THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
Had the Antimasons been solidly united in supporting the
Adams convention s nominees for governor and lieutenant-
governor, Thompson and Granger, 54 the latter an Antimason,
the two parties together might have carried the State in
spite of the Regency. A split, however, among the Anti-
masons led the more radical element to put a separate ticket
in the field Southwick and Crary 55 which made success
impossible. Van Buren had meanwhile been watching the
situation closely, and in the summers of 1827 and 1828 had
made trips through the doubtful western part of the State. 56
He assured Jackson of a decided majority of the State s
vote, 57 but nevertheless deemed it advisable to head the state
ticket himself, and accordingly was nominated for governor
by the Regency s convention in September, i828. 88
Long before the presidential ballots were cast in Novem
ber, 1828, observers, even those friendly to Adams, foresaw
the outcome. 59 Clay himself admitted that " it is mortifying
and sickening to the hearts of the real lovers of free govern
ment that the contest should be so close, and that if heaven
grants us success it will be perhaps by less than a majority
of six votes. 5 60 The event realized the administration s
worst fears. It was a Jackson landslide. Every State in
the entire South and West Clay s own Kentucky included
gave Jackson its entire electoral vote. Excepting New Jer
sey and Delaware, six votes from Maryland and sixteen
from New York, Jackson carried all the Middle States.
Even in New England he received one vote from Maine and
rolled up a large minority of the popular vote in that State
and in New Hampshire. So well had Van Buren and the
Regency done their work that, despite the efforts of the ad-
54 Adams Convention held at Utica, July 23, 1828, Albany Argus,
August 4, 1828; Weed, pp. 302-303.
55 Hammond, vol. ii, p. 389.
56 Ibid., p. 288.
57 Van Buren to Jackson, September 14, 1827, Van Buren MSS.
58 Niles Register, vol. xxxiv, p. 346 ; Hammond, vol. ii, p. 288.
69 Hammond, vol. ii, p. 286.
60 Clay to Webster, October 24, 1828, Webster MSS.
PARTY REORGANIZATION, 1824-1828 3!
ministration and the Antimasons, twenty of New York s
thirty-six votes went to Jackson, and the Junto carried Vir
ginia by a majority of I5,ooo. 61
The election had been a fight between democracy and aris
tocracy primarily both terms used in their looser sense
and a struggle between particularism and centralization sec
ondarily. Each party, in theory at least, however much in
practice it resorted to personal attacks upon its opponent,
advocated certain definite principles of governmental policy
which it proposed to practice if successful. With the
Adams-Clay men it was the "American System/ With
the Jacksonians it was the rule of the people, to be instituted
by a reform of the corruptions and abuses alleged by them
to exist in the government and to have grown out of Adams
federalism and his corrupt bargain with Clay. The Jackson
party leaders of the western group, their president-elect es
pecially, regarded the result as "a triumph of virtue and
republican simplicity over corruption and an unprin
cipled aristocracy." 62 "The people expect reform," said
Jackson, " they shall not be disappointed ; but it must be ju
diciously done, and upon principle." 63
The campaign had very decided effects upon the political
party situation. It eliminated Adams as head of the nation
alistic republicans, which resulted in the turning of all eyes
in that party toward Clay as its future leader, 64 and thus
left him heir to the remnant of Adams following. It pro
duced the first definite political alliance between the South
and the West. It saw the weakening of Calhoun as the re
sult of his enforced adoption of his State s about-face from
nationalism to particularism. 65 Most important of all, it
brought about the election of Andrew Jackson. This last
61 Richmond Enquirer, November 28, 1828.
62 William B. Lewis to James A. Hamilton, December 12, 1828,
Van Buren MSS.
63 Jackson to Van Buren, March 31, 1829, Jackson MSS.
64 The Marylander, November 19, 1828.
65 Houston, A Critical Study of Nullification in South Carolina,
32 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
had been accomplished by no definite political party, prop
erly speaking, but by the support of his democratic admirers
west of the Alleghenies reinforced by the followers of Craw
ford and Calhoun in the East and South. In this loose
combination leading parts had been played by Calhoun, again
vice-president-elect, and a number of his adherents who were
nationally prominent. Important though their services to
the Jackson cause were, they had been far surpassed by
those rendered by Martin Van Buren.
As already mentioned, the Antimasonic party participated
in its first national campaign in 1828, being then confined to
the State of New York. Almost from its inception the party
suffered from a divided leadership. The mass of it was al
most fanatical in its attitude toward Masonry and toward
anyone even remotely connected with that institution. This
extreme wing of the Antimasons favored the destruction of
Masonry, first and foremost, and intended, by subordinating
all other political issues, to accomplish its ends through a
majority in the State legislature. On the other hand the
ablest and most prominent leaders, Weed, Tracy, Whittlesey,
Fitch and others, 1 desired to utilize the movement for polit
ical ends primarily, and therefore did not hesitate to bend,
or to sacrifice if necessary, the party s principles to expe
For convenience we may refer to these two elements in the
party as the extremists and the politicians. The former
composed the bulk of the party ; the latter had a monopoly in
experienced political leadership. It was this condition which
led most of the extremists to refuse to follow the politicians
in joining forces with the Adams party in New York in the
campaign of 1828, and to nominate as a separate guber
natorial ticket Southwick and Crary. 3 But for this division
it is probable that Van Buren would have been defeated for
governor that year, and that Jackson would have received
only a minority of the State s electoral vote. 4
1 Weed, Autobiography, p. 336.
2 McCarthy, The Antimasonic Party, p. 383.
3 Niles Register, vol. xxxv, p. 89.
* William H. Seward, Autobiography, 1801-1834 (F. H. Seward,
Ed.), Pp. 73-74-
34 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
The Utica convention of August 4, 1828, the first Anti-
masonic state convention and that in which the politicians
had tried to ally the party with the National Republicans
had appointed a general corresponding committee for the
State, composed of Whjttlesey, Weed, Backus, Works and
Ely, all able politicians, and had empowered it to call future
state conventions when it deemed necessary. 5 Two points
in this connection are interesting to note. From their first
local beginnings, the Antimasons resorted mainly to the small
convention; hence it was natural that when their movement
became statewide they should follow the precedent established
by the Pennsylvania Jacksonians in 1824 and resort to the
state convention, as they did at Utica in 1828. Second, this
state corresponding committee of the Antimasons was exactly
analogous in function to the present-day National Com
mittee, which analogy was further exemplified when it called
a state convention of its party and designated the time, the
place, and the size of delegations. 6
The convention thus called met at Albany, February 19,
i829. 7 It was highly important for two reasons. It marked
the Antimasons point of departure from state into national
politics, while its proceedings and organization formed a
model and precedent according to which its offspring, the
national convention of Philadelphia in 1830, was operated.
After a reconciliation between the extremists and the pol
iticians, this Albany convention adopted a resolution dis
avowing connection with any political party, State or national,
and proposed to run an Antimasonic ticket at every subse
quent state election, whether local or general. 8 Except for
a resolution appointing a general central committee of cor
respondence for the State, composed mainly of the politicians,
the other acts of the convention were of a nature to further
5 Proceedings of the Albany Convention, in Antimasonic Pam
phlets, Maryland Historical Society.
7 Albany Argus, Feb. 20, 1829.
8 Proceedings of the Albany Convention.
THE ANTIMASONS 35
the party propaganda. Despite the strong element of ex
tremists present, the superior political and forensic ability
of Weed, Whittlesey, Fitch, Granger and others of the polit
ical element enabled them to dominate the convention s ac
tivities. Only one of its acts merits closer observation.
Among several propagandic resolutions, Timothy Fitch pro
posed one to appoint a committee of five to " enquire whether
it is expedient for this convention to recommend a conven
tion of delegates from the several United States, to be held
at some future time and place, to deliberate on " the further
ance of Antimasonic principles, " and if so whether it is ex
pedient for this convention to designate the time, and place,
and also the number of delegates for each State." 9
This motion was adopted and Granger, Seward, Robinson,
Lay and Green were appointed on the committee. Some
hours later Granger reported for the committee that they
had found such action expedient and submitted a resolution
to hold a national convention of Antimasons at Philadelphia,
on the nth of September, 1830, the delegates to be elected
as each State saw fit and to equal in number its representa
tion in Congress. The objects stated in the resolution for
holding this national convention were the adoption of meas
ures looking to the destruction of Masonry and similar secret
societies. After submitting it, Granger made some explana
tory remarks. He stated that the committee, in recommend
ing this course, had been actuated by information from news
papers and private letters that conditions were ripe for a
general spread of Antimasonry in most of the States north
of Maryland, and hence it seemed an auspicious time in which
to hold a national convention for Antimasonic purposes.
The resolution was adopted and thus the machinery was set
in motion which resulted in our first political party con
Although the ultimate aim of the politicians was doubt
less to enter the field of national politics, it was too early
9 Ibid. ; Albany Argus, Feb. 23, 1829.
36 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
to let this be known to the party generally, hence the lan
guage of the above resolution and the remarks made when
it was presented show that its authors intended to convey
the idea that this national convention was to be simply a
means of spreading Antimasonry, and of uniting all efforts
to break up the Masonic institution. What individual first
suggested this national convention is unknown. Its alleged
objects being what they were, it seems highly probable that
the plan was borrowed from the Masonic practice of hold
ing General Grand Encampments made up of delegates
from the state organizations, as in 1826. This idea, in
deed, was mentioned by Granger as an argument for de
fending the proposed convention against charges of ulterior
motives. 11 Henry Ward Dana s Antimasonic Review also
justifies the Philadelphia convention on the same ground. 12
Antimasonry, thus planning to enter upon a national
career, was essentially anti-Jackson as well. Its extremists
naturally were opposed to Jackson, who was a high Mason,
and its politician element saw in him a formidable obstacle
to local and national political progress. As noted above,
in 1827 both the Adams and the Jackson party had made
efforts to secure the Antimasonic support in New York.
That this contest terminated in favor of Adams naturally
set the Regency in New York and Jackson s followers else
where firmly against Antimasonry. During the campaign
of 1828 a letter from Adams stating that he never had been
and never would be a Mason 13 had helped to draw his party
and the Antimasonic politician element together. The doings
at Albany, and especially the personnel of the state central
committee appointed by that convention, prove conclusively
that the anti- Jackson politicians among the Antimasons
were again leading the party. It was with this group that
the resolution for a national convention at Philadelphia
11 Proceedings of the Albany Convention, Granger s Report
12 Ibid. ; The Antimasonic Review, I, vol. xii, p. 365.
13 Weed. Autobiography, p. 312.
14 The Antimasonic Review, I, vol. xii, pp. 364-365.
THE ANTIMASONS 37
Between this convention at Albany and that at Philadel
phia, the Antimasonic movement spread in the States of
Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Penn
sylvania and Ohio with unprecedented rapidity. 15 The
initial excitement aroused by Morgan s disappearance and
probable murder was kept stirred by a series of reports,
investigations and trials in New York until well into 1829."
This agitation was exploited and constantly fanned in the
public mind by the party s frequent conventions and by the
notice given by such papers as Weed s Antimasonic En
quirer and Ward s Antimasonic Review to their resolutions
and addresses. 17 In this manner the charge was spread far
and wide that the Masons controlled and intimidated legis
latures, judges and juries, and that Masonic obligations con
stituted a tie upon the individual more binding than the
national constitution and laws.
That the Antimasonic leaders were planning, despite the
purely propagandic motives alleged by them at Albany, to
utilize the Philadelphia convention as a means of entering
the next presidential campaign is shown by their cautious
casting about for a candidate previous to the date on which
the convention was to assemble. They preferred Clay as
their candidate because he had the most numerous following
outside the Jackson party, but Clay himself was a Mason
and it was not certain that he would renounce his allegiance
to the order. Accordingly, he was sounded through his
friends, and John McLean of the Supreme Court was also
approached on the subject of Masonry before the Philadel
phia convention met. 18 From Clay s friends came nothing
definite as to his attitude toward Masonry, though they were
profuse in cordiality and in assurances that Clay was the
15 Ibid., James Buchanan to McLean, June u, 1829, McLean
MSS. ; Niles Register, vol. xxxvii, p. 276.
ie Weed, Autobiography, pp. 285-299.
17 Ibid., p. 310.
18 Ibid., pp. 351-352; G. W. Harris to McLean, May , 1830,
38 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
only man capable of defeating Jackson. 19 McLean wrote
that he was not and never had been a Mason, but as he
knew nothing of Masonic doctrines he could neither approve
nor condemn them. 20
Near the end of February, 1830, state conventions of
Antimasons at Albany and Harrisburg 21 selected delegates
to the Philadelphia convention. The former of these saw
the exit of the extremist faction from all participation in
the party s policy, since Southwick s paper was discarded in
favor of Weed and his newly established Albany Evening
Journal, as the state party organ. 22 This convention also
gives further evidence of the leaders intentions to enter
national politics with vigor, and to supplant the National
Republicans as the chief opposition party. 23 It further re
veals that Antimasonry had been making great progress
not only in New York but in other neighboring States. 24
The convention of Antimasons which met at Philadelphia
on September n, 1830, was the first party convention on a
national scale in our political history. 25 The credit for the
application of the national convention idea to the party rests
with Fitch and the committee which recommended it at
Albany, though, as has been shown, the idea was not a new
one. 26 The convention numbered 96 delegates from the ten
States of New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Con
necticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey, Delaware,
Maryland and Ohio. The party in New York was recog
nized as the prime mover; indeed, the entire proceedings
were controlled by that State s delegation aided by those of
19 Weed, Autobiography, pp. 351-352.
20 McLean to G. W. Harris, May 24, 1830, McLean MSS.
21 Niles Register, xxxviii, p. 48 ; Hammond, vol. ii, p. 394.
22 Weed, Autobiography, chap, xxxii; McCarthy, The Antima-
sonic Party, pp. 393~394-
23 Seward, Autobiography, p. 77.
24 Ibid. Cf. Niles Register, vol. xxxvii, p. 276.
25 National Gazette [Philadelphia], September 13, 1830; T. W.
Barnes, Memoir of Thurlow Weed, p. 39.
26 Proceedings of the Albany Convention.
THE ANTIMASONS 39
Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. 27 These three with 26,
25 and 15 delegates respectively mustered about two-thirds
of the total number present. 28 This control was reflected
throughout the convention s proceedings. With hardly an
exception every important committee was headed by a New
York, a Massachusetts or a Pennsylvania man. 29 Indeed a
comparison of the two shows a conspicuous likeness of the
Philadelphia convention s proceedings to those at Albany
eighteen months before.
The convention s organization was effected thus. On
motion by Whittlesey, a chairman and secretary pro tem-
pore, both of Pennsylvania, were elected. A roll call of
delegates by States, beginning with New York, followed,
but there was no examination of credentials. Whittlesey
then moved that a permanent chairman, four vice-presi
dents and two secretaries be elected. These had been se
lected by caucus some hours before the meeting convened,
and accordingly were now elected, Francis Granger being
chosen permanent chairman. He then made a brief speech
of acknowledgment and reminded the meeting of the im
portance of its deliberations to the party s cause. On Whit-
tlesey s motion the president then appointed a committee of
one from each State on order of business. This completed
the organization. 30
The next day Phelps of Massachusetts, chairman of the
committee on business, reported fourteen separate resolutions
each providing for a separate committee. The first of these
was to be a committee on rules of procedure ; the remainder
were charged with rendering reports on different phases of
Masonic obligations and the effect of the latter on activities
as diverse as commerce and Christianity, and with reporting
means of spreading Antimasonic propaganda. These com-
27 National Gazette [Philadelphia], September 13, 1830.
28 Proceedings of the Philadelphia Convention, in Antimasonic
Pamphlets, Maryland Historical Society.
4O THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
mittees were formed according to both the plan and the ob
jects pursued by the Albany convention. To them was added
a finance committee authorized to raise money from among
the delegates, and they all reported during the week, Sep
tember 13 to 17 inclusive. Their reports were all adopted
without more than casual debate and were ordered printed in
the proceedings. 31
The main point around which interest centered was the
question of what should be the party s next move. There
was of course no objection to another national propagandic
convention such as the extremist element expected this to be ;
but this would obviously not suit the politicians. Hence the
threefold question was raised : Should this convention stamp
itself as primarily a political one by nominating a presidential
ticket? Should such nomination be deferred to a later sea
son and another convention for that purpose? Or should
no action at all of such nature be considered? On the one
hand were the extremists who favored righting Masonry to
the death by means of intra-state organization and propa
ganda ; on the other were the politicians, now indubitably the
party leaders, who wanted a national political organization
headed by a presidential ticket in 1832.
The whole question was precipitated by Curtenius, an ob
scure New York delegate, when on the second day of the
convention he suddenly moved for a committee to report the
most expedient time, place and manner of nominating a pres
idential ticket. It was immediately objected to as inexpe
dient and was tabled. Nothing more was said on the sub
ject until the next afternoon, when Curtenius withdrew the
motion. This was not what the leaders wanted, and Whit-
tlesey, supported by Phelps, immediately renewed it. This
brought on the debate in which the extremists made a last
stand against the schemes of the politicians for making Anti-
masonry a national political party. 32
31 Proceedings of the Philadelphia Convention.
THE ANTIMASONS 4!
For the extremists, Jones and Todd of Pennsylvania led
the fight and insisted that Antimasonry was not strong
enough or widely enough disseminated, and that the dele
gates were unauthorized by their constituents to take such
action. On the politicians side, Whittlesey, Phelps, Irwin
and Thaddeus Stevens supported the motion vigorously.
They insisted that Antimasonry to be most effective must
necessarily be political, and that a presidential ticket would
bring the party into wider notice. Irwin and Stevens even
went to the point of advocating an immediate nomination by
Whittlesey s motion was then amended to provide that a
committee of one from each State be appointed to consider
and report: (i) on the expediency of the party nominating
a presidential ticket before the next election, (2) "on the
manner, time, and place of making such nominations." Two
days later Amos Ellmaker, chairman of the committee, re
ported as follows: (i) That a nomination of a presidential
ticket by the party was desirable, because the Masons held
two-thirds of the national government offices and could be
reached only by Antimasonry controlling those offices, and
because such nomination would extend Antimasonry, bring
it to more general notice and pave the way to success in 1836
if not in 1832 ; (2) That they deemed it inexpedient to make
a present nomination, since the delegates had no authority to
do so, and especially since more time was necessary for Anti-
masonry to spread and for opinion to crystalize on a candi
date; (3) As to time, place and manner for the nominations,
the report closed with a resolution " That, it is recommended
to the people of the United States, opposed to secret so
cieties, to meet in convention on Monday, the 26th day of
September, 1831, at the city of Baltimore, by delegates equal
in number to their representatives in both houses of Con
gress, to make nominations . . . for . . . president and vice-
president, to be supported at the next election ; and for the
42 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
transaction of such other business as the cause of Anti-
masonry may require." 3S
All the various committees having reported, the address to
the people of the United States was read and adopted, the
convention recommended the utmost vigilance and activity to
local committees, appointed a national corresponding commit
tee, and adjourned sine die. 34
This first national convention of a political party s dele
gates established several important precedents. It adopted
from the state convention the chairman pro tempore, the per
manent chairman, the several vice-presidents for honorary
purposes and the address to the people, the latter the germ
of the future platform. It applied on a national scale the
appointment of delegates according to the electoral strength
of the basic unit, in this case the state, a quota which had
been first adopted by the Pennsylvania state convention in
1824 and generally followed by subsequent state conven
tions. It introduced the roll call of delegates by states, the
rules committee, the or der-of -business committee, the con
duct of its business through the committee system, and most
important of all, the resort to the nominating convention for
selecting its presidential ticket.
We have seen the reasons why no presidential nomination
was attempted by the Philadelphia convention, and that one
of these was the need for time in which to fix upon a candi
date. The party leaders preference for Clay had received
little encouragement ; 35 on the other hand McLean had as
sured them that he was not a Mason. 36 The latter was en
couraging, the more so since McLean was not unpopular
throughout the country. Indeed, had the Philadelphia con
vention made a nomination, McLean would most probably
have been its choice, 37 particularly as signs were beginning
84 Ibid. ; The Antimasonic Review, II, vol. x, p. 317.
35 Weed, Autobiography, pp. 350-352.
36 McLean to George W. Harris, May 24, 1830, McLean MSS.
37 B. W. Richards to McLean, September 20, 1830, McLean MSS. ;
Seward, Autobiography, p. 79.
to appear that the National Republicans intended to head
their ticket with Clay. 38 As it was not certain that McLean
would accept the nomination, it is not surprising that he was
sounded further, that Richard Rush was approached, that
John Quincy Adams was appealed to, while at the same time
Clay s course was being hopefully watched during the inter
val between the Philadelphia and Baltimore conventions.
Clay himself in 1830 believed that Antimasonry would not
be a serious obstacle to his success and counted upon the
support of the Antimasons; indeed he was even willing to
have his party assist their state ticket in New York in return
for support from their presidential electors. 39 He over
looked the fact that it would be difficult for even such politi
cians as Weed and Tracy to line up their party behind him
without some utterance from him against Masonry to aid
them in the task. This he was unwilling to give. 40 Conse
quently as time went on and he was nominated by one Na
tional Republican meeting after another, and still no Anti-
masonic statement came from him, the Antimasons turned
more and more away from him. 41 Thus by April, 1831, John
Sergeant was writing to Webster that the Antimasons were
against Clay only less definitely than they were against Jack
son, 42 and by the end of May that year a motion to instruct
the Pennsylvania delegates to the Antimasonic convention in
Baltimore against Clay was amended to omit his name only
after a struggle. 43 By the end of June, 1831, Clay had
definitely given up hope of an Antimasonic endorsement at
Baltimore and was trusting that that party, seeing later the
futility of success, would withdraw their candidate, in which
case he rather than Jackson would receive their support. 4 *
88 Niles Register, vol. xxxviii, p. 432 ; cf . Barnes, Memoir of
Weed, pp. 39-40.
39 Clay to John Bailhache, November 24, 1830, Clay, Correspond
ence, pp. 288-289; Clay to Brooke, June 24, 1830, ibid., pp. 263-264.
40 Niles Register, vol. xli, p. 260.
41 Weed, Autobiography, p. 389.
42 John Sergeant to Webster, April 9, 1831, Webster MSS.
43 Niles Register, vol. xl, p. 237.
44 Clay to Brooke, June 23, 1831; Clay to Adam Beatty, June 25,
1831, Clay, Correspondence, pp. 303-305.
44 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
During the first half of 1831 Richard Rush was considered
as a possible nominee by the Antimasons. On April 26, the
correspondence committee of York County, Pennsylvania,
wrote asking him if he was a Mason and his views upon that
subject. He replied satisfactorily and at great length, stat
ing in positive terms that though he had once been a Mason,
he had withdrawn from the order before 1826, and was
wholly opposed to it as dangerous to republican government
and therefore favorable to efforts to put it down. 48 This
was of course entirely satisfactory to the Antimasons, but
before the end of August he made known to their leaders
that he would decline if nominated by the Baltimore conven
tion. 46 Whether this unwillingness was due to Rush s de
votion to the National Republicans, to a belief that the Anti-
masonic ticket could not succeed, or to aversion to further
public life, is uncertain.
At the eleventh hour, about two weeks before the Balti
more convention assembled, the Antimasonic leaders in New
York, as urged by those in Massachusetts, approached John
Quincy Adams to ascertain if he would accept their nomina
tion. For this purpose they sent Tracy and Seward to con
fer with him. He assented without enthusiasm, expressing
a preference to the contrary, adding that he would accept a
nomination only upon condition that no other man could
command as many of the convention s votes. He also mani
fested considerable reluctance to detract in any manner from
support which might be accorded Clay as National Repub
lican candidate. 47
While McLean had stated that he had never been con
nected with the Masonic order, his position in regard to it
was not entirely satisfactory inasmuch as he had said that,
knowing nothing of its doctrines, he could neither approve
45 These letters are in the Antimasonic Pamphlets of the Mary
land Historical Society.
46 Adams, Memoirs, vol. viii, p. 403.
47 Adams, ibid., pp. 400-401, 403, 412-413; Seward, Autobiography,
pp. 198, 205-206.
THE ANTIMASONS 45
nor condemn them. 48 Accordingly Robert Hanna, one of
the party leaders in Ohio, wrote with the Baltimore conven
tion in view, asking McLean s sentiments as to Free Ma
sonry. 49 To this the latter replied substantially as he had
done to Harris, adding however, " I am in principle opposed
to all combinations of men under whatever name or profes
sion, who attempt to control the public will for the attain
ment of selfish objects/" 60 This was more satisfactory to
the Antimasons and from this time his stock rose steadily
with them, and during the summer of 1831 he gave Weed
and Tracy to understand that he was not averse to being
nominated at Baltimore. 51 There was a string to this, how
ever. McLean was not minded to resign from the Supreme
Bench to become the leader of a forlorn hope, hence he had
attached to his acceptance the proviso " In case there should
be no other candidate against General Jackson." 82 In his
readiness to accept on this condition he was actuated by the
hope that the National Republicans, in their eagerness to
defeat Jackson, would unite with the Antimasons in sup
porting him as the opposition candidate. His hopes of this
combination were raised when, in the August elections, the
Jacksonians secured eight of the twelve congressional seats
contested in Clay s own State, and it was suggested that Clay
might be kept out of the presidential race in consequence. 53
The first national nominating convention assembled at Bal
timore, Monday, September 26, 1831, in the Athenaeum.* 4
Such a convention was enough of a novelty to crowd the
city hotels with delegates and spectators. 55 The total num
ber of delegates was 116, accredited from the thirteen States
48 McLean to Harris, May 24, 1830, McLean MSS.
49 Robert Hanna to McLean, October 11, 1830, McLean MSS.
50 McLean to Hanna, , 1830, McLean MSS.
51 Weed to McLean, August 23, 1831, McLean MSS.
52 Weed, Autobiography, p. 389.
53 Niles Register, vol. xli, p. i ; Weed to McLean, August 23,
1831 ; M. T. Simpson to McLean, August 26, 1831, McLean MSS.
54 The Athenaeum was on the southwest corner of St. Paul and
Lexington Streets (J. T. Scharf, Chronicles of Baltimore, p. 408).
55 Baltimore Gazette, September 26, 27, 1831.
46 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode
Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, Maryland, Ohio and Indiana. Only the New
York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania delegations were
equal in numbers to the prescribed ratio ; hence, like that at
Philadelphia, this convention was entirely controlled by these
three states. Indeed, judging by its proceedings and the per
sonnel of its committees, the New York leaders, seconded by
those of Massachusetts, played the directing role. 56 Except
Ohio with nine, no other State had more than six delegates
present, and Maryland, Delaware, New Hampshire and In
diana had but one each.
The Baltimore convention, except for the nominations,
introduced little in the way of organization and procedure
that had not been put into practice at Philadelphia. This
statement applies to the temporary and the permanent chair
man, the several vice-presidents and secretaries, and the com
mittee organization to conduct the business of the meeting.
The one innovation, aside from the nominations, was the
examination of the delegates credentials, which was not done
by a committee, but by the officers in full convention. This
in itself was not a new idea, but, like the nominating pro
ceedings, was adopted from past state convention practice.
One other noteworthy feature was the assignment of special
places in the hall to the " reporters of the convention s pro
On Monday afternoon business began in earnest with the
report of Phelps of Massachusetts, chairman of the commit
tee on business, which comprised one member from each
State and was entrusted with bringing before the convention
necessary business. After citing the call by the Philadel
phia convention of the present meeting, he recommended the
appointment of six separate committees, whose respective
functions were : to report on Masonic penalties, to compile a
56 Proceedings of the Baltimore Antimasonic Convention, in Anti-
masonic Pamphlets, Maryland Historical Society.
57 Proceedings of the Baltimore Antimasonic Convention.
THE ANTIMASONS 47
list of Masonic obstructions of the proceedings against Mor
gan s murderers, to express the convention s views on Ma
sonry, to raise funds, to publish the proceedings of this and
of the Philadelphia convention, and to prepare an address to
the people of the United States.
Phelps committee made two other recommendations, one
calling for a report from the party s national corresponding
committee, 88 the other containing the rules for governing the
nominating proceedings. The latter provided that next day
at noon, Tuesday, the nominations for president and vice-
president should be made and "that the votes be taken by
ballot separately for each of those candidates, and that the
votes of three-fourths of all the members present, be con
sidered necessary to constitute a choice." 59 Each of the
above recommendations was considered in turn and was
adopted. Thus originated the practice of requiring more
than a simple majority to indicate the party s choice of a
candidate. This precedent, modified to a two-thirds major
ity, was followed by the Democratic convention eight months
later, and by every subsequent convention of that party
thereafter. Who it was that originated it in the Antimasonic
order-of-business committee is unknown. 60
The Antimasonic delegates came to Baltimore with the
nomination of McLean a foregone conclusion among their
leaders. All that was necessary to secure for him a unan
imous choice as the party s candidate was his final announce
ment that he would accept. 61 Weed and Tracy had been
led to believe that he would certainly accept 62 and Thad-
deus Stevens, who had also been in communication with him,
was positive of it. 63 Indeed the rumor afloat in Baltimore
during the Sunday immediately before the convention was
58 Composed of Henry Dana Ward and two others, all of New
59 Proceedings of the Baltimore Antimasonic Convention
61 Richards to McLean, October i, 1831, McLean MSS.
52 Weed, to McLean, August 23, 1831, McLean MSS.
63 Seward, Autobiography, p. 89.
48 TllE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
that McLean would he its choice for president, with William
\Yirt for vice president, the only uncertainty being as to the
lattcr s accepting. 04
Late that Sunday evening came the letter in which McLean
promised to make known his final decision as to the nom
ination. <;:> It was a politely firm refusal. The reasons al
leged were that as Jackson, Clay and Calhoun were already
before the people, the addition of a fourth candidate would
merely "distract still more the public mind," and therefore
"be injurious to ... the country" by entailing the choice
by the 1 louse of Representatives of another minority presi
dent, lie added further that as a member of the Supreme
Court, he ought not to enter upon such a political enterprise
" unless the use of his name would l>e likely to tranquilize
the public mind." ( " Thus his ground for refusal was plainly
his belief that he had no chance of success, because of Clay s
entry into the field as National Republican candidate, a fact
which he had recently ascertained." 7
McLean s refusal was a heavy and disconcerting blow to
the Antimasons. No one knew what the result would be
and a hundred rumors were speedily afloat. One of these
was that John Quincy Adams would be nominated; another
stated that \Yirt would be the nominee."* Seward says that
the refusal " fell like a wet blanket upon our warm expecta
tions." The convention " felt that it could derive no strength
or prestige from a nomination of one of its own well-known
and practiced leaders. It needed a new name, not before
identified with its history, ami a high name at that." tifl
Nothing daunted, the resourceful party leaders, according
to Seward. set themselves to work, "inasmuch as we could
t;4 Letter to the Washington Journal from a correspondent, in
Baltimore (Vi.-ette. September 2~. i8 v >i.
" 5 Weed. Autobiography, pp. ;>8o-^cx\
<"" McLean s letter in Nile? Register, vol. xli. pp. J5o-.xv>; Weed,
Autobiography, pp. ^So-^oo.
07 Weed. Autobiography, p. ,;So : Se\\ard. Autobiography, p. So.
os Letter to Washington Journal in Baltimore Gazette, September
69 Seward. Autobiography, p. oo.
THE ANTIMASOXS 49
not find a candidate, to make one." 70 Weed, Tracy and
Spencer, all from New York, and Phelps from Massachu
setts, immediately sounded both John Marshall and William
Wirt. 71 The indications are that they preferred Marshall,
for a resolution passed the convention Monday evening in
viting him to attend its deliberations, while the proceedings
record no such action in Wirt s case. 72 Marshall accepted
the invitation to be present as a spectator, but evidently
would not hear to having his name presented for nomina
tion. Wirt, however, as well as Barbour, Forsyth and Ar
cher of the Jackson party, among others visited the conven
tion Tuesday, the second day. 73 It was this diligent search
for a candidate which led the convention to postpone making
the nominations from Tuesday until Wednesday. 74
The labors of the party leaders were more successful with
Wirt than with Marshall. Tuesday evening a confidential
letter was received from the former stating his readiness to
accept the nomination " upon the terms we had avowed."
What conditions had been named to Wirt as necessary to his
nomination, is uncertain, but judging from the tenor of his
public letter of acceptance, they must have been very gen
eral with little or no stress laid upon an Antimasonic pro
Seward s account of Wirt s nomination is corroborated by
Weed 76 and is doubtless correct. Seward says:
Wirt had been a Mason, and a large party in the convention
were unwilling to assign him the place of standard-bearer upon a
conversion which they thought sudden and interested. Others
were of the opinion that, notwithstanding Judge McLean s declin
ing, we might safely force the nomination upon him. It was in the
maintenance of these opinions that I found Thaddeus Stevens . . .
unreasonable and impracticable. It was assigned to me to combat
them in private caucus. We debated the subject until midnight
71 Ibid. :Weed, Autobiography, pp. 390-391.
72 Proceedings of the Baltimore Antimasonic Convention.
; Baltimore Gazette, September 28, 1831.
74 Proceedings of the Baltimore Antimasonic Convention.
75 Seward, Autobiography, p. 90.
78 Weed, Autobiography, p. 391.
50 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
and adjourned under an apprehension that the convention would
explode next day. ... I lodged that night in a room with Mr.
Stevens. When I awoke in the morning, filled with anxiety which
last night s debates had left, I was surprised to find that my fellow
lodger was entirely calm and undisturbed. I remonstrated with
him against his pertinacious adhesion to Mr. McLean, and so far
prevailed with him as to obtain an assurance of his acquiescence
in the nomination of Mr. Wirt, if that should be the choice of the
Thanks to the efforts of Weed, Tracy, Spencer and Phelps
with Wirt, and to those of Seward with Stevens, all was
harmony when the convention took up the nominations on
Wednesday. There were no nominating speeches. Phelps
and Stevens were appointed tellers to receive and count the
ballots. On the vote for presidential nominee, each delegate
rose as his name was called and deposited his ballot in an
open box on the tellers table in the center of the hall. When
all had voted the number of ballots was checked against the
number of delegates present and found to correspond.
Phelps then opened each ballot, read it aloud and passed it
to Stevens who checked it, the secretaries keeping count
meanwhile. The results, announced by the president of the
convention, 78 showed Wirt to have 108 of the in votes
cast, 27 more than the necessary three-fourths. On
Stevens motion, Wirt was by acclamation declared unan
imously nominated much as is done in present-day conven
tions. Similar action, by ballot followed by acclamation, re
sulted in the nomination of Amos Ellmaker for vice-presi
dent. The latter, though not mentioned in the convention s
earlier proceedings, had been prominent in the Philadelphia
Convention, and had probably been selected outside of the
convention. Two committees of three each were then ap
pointed to notify Wirt and Ellmaker of their respective nom
77 Seward, Autobiography, pp. 90-91.
78 John C. Spencer, a prominent lawyer of New York State, a
recent convert to the cause of Antimasonry, was president of the
79 Proceedings of the Baltimore Antimasonic Convention.
THE ANTIMASONS 5!
Wirt s letter of acceptance arrived that evening at eight
o clock. It was at once read before the convention, ordered
entered on the minutes, and the meeting voted that he be
recommended to the country for cordial support as the
Antimasonic candidate. For all this, Wirt s letter must have
been hard to stomach. He accepted the nomination as a per
sonal honor from a distinguished body, tendered him for
personal considerations purely, and not upon Antimasonic
principles involving a crusade against Masonry. He stated
that he had once been a Mason, but had never advanced far
in the order, and had gradually lost interest and dropped
out, though from no conviction against it ; that he did not be
lieve the Masonic complicity in the Morgan case to be a char
acteristic or generally authorized proceeding of the order,
and ended by saying that if, knowing these sentiments, the
convention desired to change its nomination, he should re
tire with even more pleasure than he accepted. From all of
which it appears that so far from being eager for the nom
ination, Wirt was entirely indifferent to it save as an honor
accorded his personal character and attainments, and that if
elected he proposed to enter upon no prescriptive program
against Masonry as an institution. 80
Only one other interesting action was taken. It was the
adoption of a resolution providing for another convention
of the party to be held in Washington in September, 1835, to
consider such subjects as the cause of Antimasonry might
require no specific mention made of nominations " unless
the National Antimasonic Committee shall otherwise ad
vise." 81 Here is the beginning of the present-day practice
of entrusting to the party s national committee the power of
issuing the call and settling the time and place for its na
tional convention. As has been noted, it was applied on a
state scale by the Antimasons in New York in 1828. The
80 Ibid. ; Niles Register, vol. xli, pp. 83-85.
81 Niles Register, ibid., p. 85 ; Baltimore Gazette, September 29,
52 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
Baltimore convention merely followed the state precedent by
adopting it on a national scale.
These and other proceedings such as the reappointment of
the national corresponding committee, with the same per
sonnel and powers as before, the reading and adoption of the
platform the address to the people, as it was called were
not completed until midnight. 82 The convention had pre
viously fixed this day, Wednesday, the 28th, for adjourn
ment, hence this first of night sessions in national convention
This first application of the nominating convention to na
tional party politics established permanently this means of
selecting presidential candidates. No particular credit for
an innovation accrues to the Antimasons, for the idea had
been in the country s political atmosphere for eight years
past. The organization of the convention, its business pro
cedure, the ratio of delegate representation, the address to
the people, were all adopted directly from, or else enlarged
applications of, like practices in the state nominating conven
tions, dating from that in Pennsylvania which nominated
Jackson in 1824. In some details this Antimasonic conven
tion and that at Philadelphia in 1830 seem to have been the
pioneers. Among their innovations may be named the rules
committee, the greater stress on delegates credentials, the
order-of-business committee, the conduct of business by
means of the committee system, and the unanimous confirma
tion of the candidate by acclamation after the ballot.
This convention was a true nominating body, but became
so more by an unforeseen contingency than by design. It
assembled with the choice of McLean practically predeter
mined, and it was only when his eleventh hour refusal threw
upon the convention the immediate and urgent necessity of
making a de facto selection that the meeting became, per
force, a nominating convention in the present-day sense of
82 Seward, Autobiography, p. 208.
83 Proceedings of the Baltimore Antimasonic Convention.
THE NATIONAL REPUBLICANS
Jackson s sweeping victory in November, 1828, left the
National Republicans temporarily at a standstill concerning
their future course as a party. Like political parties to
day they preferred to attribute their defeat to their leader s
personality rather than to any dislike by the nation as a
whole for nationalism and the " American System."
Adams defeat automatically removed him from the leader
ship, and with one accord the eyes of the party turned to
Henry Clay as " the Nation s only hope/ *
For the time being after the election, Clay himself had
nothing definite to recommend beyond a watchful waiting
for the new administration to make mistakes, or for a schism
to develop among its followers. Of this last he was quite
confident. His letter to Webster of November 30, 1828,
reveals the situation as follows :
We are of the majority in regard to measures; we are of the
minority in respect to the person designated as C. Magistrate. . . .
I think in regard to the new Administration, we should alike avoid
professions of support or declarations of opposition, in advance.
We can only yield the former, if our principles are adopted and
pursued. ... On the other hand, if we were now to issue a mani
festo of hostility, we should keep united, by a sense of common
danger, the discordant Confederates, who have taken the field
against us. They cannot remain in Corps but from external pres
sure. The dissensions among them this winter, the formation of
the new Cabinet, and the Inaugural Speech will enable us to dis
cover the whole ground of future operations. ... I shall retire to
Ashland after the 4th of March and there consider . . . my future
Such was the program for the immediate future and it
was followed until near the end of the congressional session
1 The Marylander [Baltimore], November 19, 1828.
2 Clay to Webster, November 30, 1828, Webster MSS.
54 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
of 1829-1830. Clay s letter reveals incidentally a decided
underestimation of Jackson s inherent ability as a leader, and
a still greater failure to comprehend the latter s strength in
Clay s own West, the chief cause of Adams downfall in
1828. According to his plan, Clay retired to private life in
March, 1829, where he remained nominally until his election
to the Senate in November, 1831. For all his retirement
during this time, he was careful to keep in the public eye,
for he spoke frequently at public meetings, dinners and bar
becues. 3 In January, 1830, he made a trip to New Orleans,
ostensibly to visit a married daughter, 4 spent about two
months there and returned up the river in March, being ac
corded many enthusiastic attentions. 5
While Clay was thus keeping in public notice, Webster in
the Senate was watching sharply the administration s course
with an eye to a suitable campaign issue, or any favorable
grounds for attack. Jackson s removals from, and ap
pointments to, office, and the Eaton affair, while suitable for
campaign ammunition as proof of the administration s in
competence, were obviously not of sufficient national or con
stitutional importance to serve as leading campaign issues. 6
The struggle between the Calhoun and Van Buren groups of
the Jacksonians, and the impending break between the Pres
ident and Calhoun, Webster regarded hopefully as portend
ing a division in the Democratic ranks " that might lead to
some beneficial results," T particularly should Jackson not
again be a candidate. As the President s course was then,
April 6, 1830, uncertain, National Republican tactics for
the future were compelled in some degree to await further
3 Clay to Josiah S. Johnston, October 8, 1829, Clay, Correspond
ence, p. 245.
4 Niles Register, vol xxxvii, p. 399.
5 Ibid., vol. xxxvii, p. 429 ; vol. xxxviii, pp. 4, 48, 105.
6 Webster, Correspondence, vol. i, p. 483.
7 Clay to J. S. Johnston, April 6, 1830, Clay, Correspondence, p.
THE NATIONAL REPUBLICANS 55
On April 18, five days after the Jefferson anniversary din-
ner had revealed Jackson and Calhoun at opposites as to
nullification, Webster wrote Clay his opinion that the Pres
ident intended to stand for reelection. 8 Some days after
this letter, Clay wrote to Judge Brooke, his manager in Vir
ginia, giving the following estimate of the future :
If Jackson loses either New York, Pennsylvania, or Virginia, he
will be defeated. If he unites the votes of all three ... he will
succeed. And I have generally supposed that the degrees of prob
ability of loss to him of those States were in the order in which I
have placed them. If I am right he is most certain of Virginia.
... In New York some progress has been made toward effecting a
union of the various parties opposed to the present administration
but the problem is yet to be solved whether such an union can be
accomplished. . . . The whole case presents one encouraging view.
Jackson has lost, is losing, and must continue to lose. 9
Toward the end of the 1829-1830 session of Congress the
National Republicans made the first definite campaign move.
The party s policy centered in the " American System," com
prising protectionist tariff and internal improvements the
latter chiefly in the form of roads and canals at national
expense. The high tariff of 1828 had raised a storm of in
dignation in the South, but as the administration showed no
signs of revising it downward, the National Republicans
turned to internal improvements, a subject in which Penn
sylvania and the whole West were supposed to be greatly
Internal improvements at national expense, aside from the
particularistic South, were not unpopular in the country at
large. Indeed a general system of such improvement had
been gaining steadily in popularity since Monroe s time. In
Pennsylvania, the keystone of Jackson s political strength,
the large Quaker element was already irritated at the admin
istration s Indian removal policy. Moreover there was in
the State a large group of local politicians and contractors
8 Webster to Clay, April 18, 1830, Clay, Correspondence, pp. 259-
9 Clay to Francis Brooke, April 24, 1830, Clay, Correspondence,
56 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
whose considerable influence was exerted on public opinion
in favor of roads and canals. Such improvements would
also be welcome in the West. 10 Jackson s attitude was not
definitely known on the subject, as it had not been previously
made clear, but owing to the Pennsylvania situation and the
supposed attitude of the West, it was not believed that he
would dare to act openly and decidedly against projects of
internal improvements, even if he disapproved of the prin
ciple which sought to finance them from the federal treas
The National Republicans needed an issue upon which to
launch their campaign, and as the tariff was not immediately
available they turned to the second part of the "American
System," internal improvements. Thus the party in Con
gress gave its attention to several such bills then pending,
of which the Maysville Road bill was destined to become
the most prominent. Jackson s first annual message had
shown a tendency toward strict construction of the federal
power relating to such measures. 12 The probabilities appear
to be that the National Republicans hoped to obtain from his
attitude toward internal improvements a leading issue upon
which to launch and conduct the coming presidential cam
A letter from Webster to Clay at the time the Maysville
Road bill was in Jackson s hands, but before its return with
his veto, throws further light upon the situation :
On the whole, my dear sir, I think a crisis is arriving, or rather
has arrived. . . . Parties, must now, necessarily, be started out anew ;
and the great ground of difference will be the Tariff and Internal
Improvements. You are necessarily at the head of one party, and
General Jackson will be, if he is not already, identified with the
other. The question will be put to the country. Let the country
decide it. 1 *
10 Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 305, 309.
Ibid., pp. 313-315, 320, 325.
12 Richardson, Messages and Papers, vol. ii, pp. 451-453.
13 Webster to Clay, May 23, 1830, Clay, Correspondence, pp.
THE NATIONAL REPUBLICANS 57
A fortnight earlier, while the Maysville bill was still in the
House of Representatives, Clay had written to his friend,
Josiah S. Johnston, Senator from Louisiana, expressing
hopes that the Senate would pass it, and that New England
Senators especially would support it. " We shall then," he
wrote, "be able practically to know who are our real
The letter of Webster just mentioned also throws light upon
the plan for opening the campaign. " I think," he wrote
Clay, "you cannot be kept back from the contest. The
people will bring you out, nolens volens. Let them do it."
After advising Clay to abstain, for political effect, from
visiting the North at this time, the writer continued, " You
will hear from the North, every town and village in it, on
the 4th of July."
On May 27, 1830, Jackson returned the Maysville bill to
the House of Representatives with his veto, 16 noting the fol
lowing objections : (i) The construction of internal improve
ments by federal authority was unconstitutional; (2) Appro
priations of money by the national government to aid works
of internal improvement must be limited solely to works of
a national, as opposed to a local, or state character, in order
to be constitutional; (3) The present bill, it pointed out, ap
propriated money to aid a road purely local in character;
(4) It was inexpedient to make any extensive appropria
tions, even for similar works which were national in char
acter until the public debt should be paid and the Constitu
tion amended to define the national power to that effect. 17
Jackson and Van Buren had been watching closely the in
ternal improvement sentiment both in and outside of Con
gress. By the end of April, 1830, Jackson was definitely
resolved upon administering a decisive check to this senti
ment and to this end had instructed Van Buren to watch
such internal improvement bills as were pending in Congress
15 Clay to Johnston, May 9, 1830, ibid., p. 267.
lfl Niles Register, vol. xxxviii, p. 271.
17 Richardson, Messages and Papers, vol. ii, pp. .$3-493.
58 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
in order to select the one whose veto would affect the small
est number of voters. 18 The bill authorizing an appropria
tion for the purchase of stock in the " Maysville . . . Turn
pike Road Company" was the one Van Buren selected.
The road in question was wholly within Kentucky, and
therefore local in character, and had the added incentive of
being in Clay s State. Indeed Jackson, who had doubtless
been observing the enemy closely, was of the opinion that
Clay and his party were pushing forward this particular
measure primarily for political effect, and hence was the
more ready to accept such a challenge. 19
The National Republicans immediately seized upon this as
a campaign issue. The veto was attacked savagely in the
House by Stanberry, Vance and Kennon, all from Ohio, and
was warmly defended by Barbour of Virginia and by Polk
and Bell of Tennessee. 20 The attacks were mainly of a de
nunciatory character, paying but little attention to the consti
tutional objections urged in the veto. Characteristic of these
denunciations was Stanberry s statement that the veto repre
sented the views of the President s ministry rather than those
of the executive himself, because the hand of the "great
magician " was visible in every line of the message. 21
The Maysville veto coming on the heels of the rising dis
content among Calhoun s friends, was promptly utilized by
the National Republicans for campaign purposes, as they
hoped to annex such elements of the Jacksonians as would
not follow the President s lead on the subject of internal
improvements. Indeed, there was ground for hope, as the
vote in the House of Representatives had been 97 to 90 in
favor of passing the bill over the President s veto, 22 and
18 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 320.
19 Ibid., pp. 320-325 ; cf. Niles Register, vol. xxxviii, p. 218.
20 Niles Register, vol. xxxviii, pp. 281, 309-315.
21 Ibid., p. 309 ; Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 329.
22 Clay to Webster, June 7, 1830, Webster, Correspondence, vol. i,
pp. 504-505; Niles Register, vol. xxxviii, p. 281.
THE NATIONAL REPUBLICANS 59
many of Jackson s party managers feared its effects upon
his popularity and their party. 23
As soon as the veto was known the National Republican
press began thundering against it. 24 According to Clay s
plan 25 his friends in Kentucky took advantage of the feeling
aroused in the State by the veto, 26 and held a large public
meeting at Lexington on June 21, at which the President s
course was roundly denounced, and a constitutional amend
ment recommended to curb the executive veto by enabling a
majority vote to over- ride it. 27 On July 4, according to
schedule, 28 the campaign designed to elect Clay president
was simultaneously launched in the North and West, while
at Washington a large meeting of Clay s friends was held
for the same purpose. 29 In all the meetings, banquets and
toasts devoted to this end, endorsement of Clay and internal
improvements and denunciation of the veto figured prom
inently. 30 Referring to National Republican tactics at this
time, Ingham wrote to Jackson who was then at the Her
mitage from Washington, " The opposition are certainly
preparing for a more violent contest than even the last.
Their pens are dipped in Gall, and no effort will be left
untried to carry the war as Mr. Clay says into every ham
let/ " 31
Following up this beginning, Clay, during the latter part
of July, addressed a public meeting at Columbus, Ohio, and
again, on August 3, delivered a long speech at Cincinnati.
In this latter, after carefully side-stepping a request for his
views as to rechartering the United States Bank, he extolled
23 Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 324-325.
24 Miles Register, vol. xxxviii, p. 269.
25 Clay to Webster, June 7, 1830, Webster, Correspondence, vol.
i, pp. 504-505.
8 Niles Register, vol. xxxviii, p. 366.
27 Ibid., pp. 337, 406-412.
28 Webster to Clay, May 23, 1830, Clay, Correspondence, pp.
29 Niles, Register, vol. xxxviii, p. 365.
31 Ingham to Jackson, July 25, 1830, Jackson MSS.
6O THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
the " American System," especially its internal improvement
side, and then assailed the Maysville veto, chiefly on the
ground that it was inconsistent with Jackson s previous votes
in Congress and had proceeded from an irresponsible cab
inet s control of the President. 32 He followed these speeches
with a short tour through Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky,
partly, no doubt, for effect upon the approaching fall elec
On the same day as his Cincinnati speech, in Delaware 34
Clay was nominated for president by "a convention of the
national republicans of this state." This was followed in
September by a like action in Connecticut, 35 and on Decem
ber 9. 1830, he was nominated by a large convention in his
own State. 36 With the campaign thus launched, it remained
to keep it moving, to keep up interest, and to organize the
party for more general efforts.
On December 13, the National Republicans of New York
City held a meeting some 2,500 strong, and, after endorsing
the various nominations of Clay, provided for the holding of
local ward meetings of the party all over the city. These
local meetings were to establish ward committees as a means
of stirring up party interest, and were to designate five mem
bers each as a part of a general committee " to superintend
the concerns of the national republican party of this city." 8T
The general committee thus established was about seventy
strong. With William H. Ireland as chairman, it soon un
dertook in addition to its local objects the effective organiza
tion of the party throughout the State. 38
It was general knowledge that the Antimasons had plans
laid for their nominating convention in Baltimore in Sep-
32 Niles Register, vol. xxxviii, p. 417; vol. xxxix, pp. 25-32.
33 Ibid., vol. xxxviii, p. 477.
34 Ibid., vol. xxxviii, p. 432.
35 Ibid., vol. xxxix, p. 94.
38 Ibid., pp. 90, 302.
37 New York American, December 14, 1830, in Niles Register,
vol. xxxix, p. 303.
38 National Intelligencer, January 4, February 17, 1831.
THE NATIONAL REPUBLICANS 6 1
tember, 1831. This means for choosing a candidate seems
to have been spontaneously adopted by the National Re
publicans in several States during February, 1831. There
was this difference, however, the Antimasons in projecting
their nominating convention actually did intend it as a means
of choosing a candidate from among several possibilities,
while the National Republicans were not seriously consider
ing any candidate but Clay. Hence the party s move for a
nominating convention was purely for propagandic purposes,
to stir up further enthusiasm for Clay whose nomination, by
any convention that might be planned, was a foregone con
clusion from the outset.
The first move for such a convention came from the above-
mentioned general committee of New York City. In the
process of working out an effective party organization in the
State, it recommended on February 9, 1831, that a state con
vention be held at Albany in June to endorse and support
Clay " and that the National Convention be held at Phil
adelphia the first Wednesday in September next." 39 The
obvious purpose for the choice of this particular time was to
forestall and influence the Antimasons who had considered
Clay, and whose nominating convention was scheduled for
Baltimore on the third Monday in September.
The party s central organ, the National Intelligencer, found
the convention suggestion good, but advised that it be held
later in the year so as to be able to act according to the latest
political developments, and also recommended that it should
be held nearer to Washington, at Baltimore for example, for
the convenience of the members of Congress who might be
delegates. The Intelligencer professed its entire willingness
that these points be determined by the party state conven
tions. 40 These two points were speedily settled almost si
multaneously by Maryland, Connecticut and Maine. In
Maryland a legislative caucus of National Republicans met
39 Ibid., February 17, 1831.
62 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
February 17, and recommended that each congressional dis
trict in the state elect a delegate " to meet in general conven
tion at Baltimore, on the second Monday in December next."
The meeting then appointed two delegates at large and fur
ther extended invitation to " our brethren of other states who
. . . deprecate the reelection of Andrew Jackson," to do like
wise " by delegates equal in number to the electors of presi
dent to which their states are entitled in order to present as
candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency, statesmen
the best established in public confidence." 41 The National
Intelligencer found this quite satisfactory and stated that it
met with the approval of the party leaders in Washington. 42
Before this news had time to reach New England a state
convention in Connecticut also recommended that the con
vention "be held in Baltimore in December next," without
naming the day, but prescribed the States respective electoral
strength as the basis for regulating the size of delegations ; 43
similar action was taken by a legislative caucus in Maine. 44
The matter was finally settled by the endorsement of the
Maryland proposal by a great National Republican meeting,
800 strong, which met in Philadelphia, April 4, with John
Sergeant presiding. 45
All this activity was the more necessary since the fall elec
tions in 1830 had made little change in the party situation,
neither Clay nor Jackson being either greatly weakened or
greatly strengthened thereby. The fears and doubts of some
of Jackson s subordinates as to the effect of the Maysville
veto on the country, had not been realized. The main hope
of the National Republicans for favorable results from the
veto had been based on its expected effects in New York,
Pennsylvania and the West. In this they were considerably
41 Annapolis Republican, February 19, 1831, in Niles Register,
vol. xl, pp. 28-29.
42 National Intelligencer, February 24, 1831.
43 Ibid., March 7, 1831.
45 Niles Register, vol. xl, pp. 127-128.
THE NATIONAL REPUBLICANS 63
disappointed. New York and Pennsylvania were building
their own roads and canals and this fact went far to neutral
ize the effect of the veto; indeed, Jackson had been per
ceptibly strengthened by it in New York. 48 In the West,
generally speaking, the effects of the veto on Ohio and Ken
tucky were favorable to the National Republicans, but did
not give either state wholly to them. 47 Outside these two
States the veto s effects on the West were beneficial to Jack
son rather than otherwise. On his summer trip to the Her
mitage, he wrote as the result of his observations, that it
worked well, and " has become what my enemies neither
wished nor expected, very popular. I have no doubt but it
will be sustained by a large majority of the people." 48
Jackson s intuitive ability to sense the feeling of the masses
toward his leading measures was the secret of his strength
as party leader and was the despair of the opposition. The
President s standing in the country at large was summed up
by Felix Grundy, apparently after making a tour of the
country. Speaking with direct reference to the veto, he said :
I find that in New Hampshire and Maine the strength of the
administration is increased by it ... has done no harm in Pennsyl
vania . . . has given strength in New York . . . results in Ohio
& Kentucky indeterminate. . . . The result of the matter in my mind
is, that altho your friends may not be numerically increased, their
attachment is now of a stronger texture formerly it consisted in
a degree in an affection for the man and an admiration of his
character & public services and confidence in his virtues Now is
added an adherence to political and republican principles; the
former are very good recommendations to get a man into office,
and the latter the safest chance for him when in. 49
In February, 1831, the publication of the break between
Jackson and Calhoun, and the disruption of the cabinet which
followed in April, improved temporarily the prospects of the
National Republicans, particularly in Pennsylvania, 50 and this
46 J. A. Hamilton to Jackson, June 27, 1830, Jackson MSS.; Van
Buren to Jackson, July 25, 1830, Van Buren MSS.
47 Moses Dawson to Jackson, July 5, 1830, Grundy to Jackson,
July 31, 1830, Jackson MSS.
48 Jackson to Van Buren, June 26, July 12, 1830, Van Buren MSS.
49 Grundy to Jackson, July 31, 1830, Jackson MSS.
50 Richards to McLean, June 24, 1831, McLean MSS.
64 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
naturally aroused their hopes of adding to their party the
disgruntled Calhoun partizans in addition to the fragments
shorn from the Democrats by the Maysville veto. Although
Van Buren s resignation from the cabinet mystified them 51
and deprived them temporarily of one of their favorite ob
jects of attack, this did not prevent them from making every
effort to exploit the unprecedented cabinet change to their
advantage and to make the most of the fierce newspaper
recriminations during the ensuing summer between the ad
ministration supporters and the ejected secretaries. 52
Between April and November, 1831, eighteen States and
the District of Columbia elected delegates to the convention
in December. 53 The specified quota per State was, as it had
been with the Antimasons, and as the party legislative cau
cuses had recommended, equal to its electoral college strength.
As far as can be ascertained the delegates were chosen on
this basis either by state convention, as in New York and
Ohio, 54 by state legislative caucus, as in Massachusetts and
New Hampshire, 55 or by leaving the choice entirely to the
individual congressional district with the two delegates at
large appointed by caucus, as in Virginia, Maryland, Penn
sylvania and Maine. 56 Of the eighteen States that chose dele
gates only Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Dela
ware, Maryland, Virginia and Kentucky were represented
by their full quota of delegates. Of the other States, New
York, Pennsylvania and Ohio were represented by 17, 23
and 1 8 delegates respectively. Of four others, North Caro
lina, Tennessee, Louisiana and Indiana, none had more than
three delegates present. Apparently it was not thought
worth while to instruct any of the delegations, since the only
name in the party s collective mind was that of Clay, hence,
as noted before, his nomination was a foregone conclusion
51 Niles Register, vol. xl, pp. 129, 165.
52 Ibid., pp. 318, 372-389, passim.
53 Ibid., vol. xli, pp. 306-307.
54 Ibid., vol. xl, pp. 254, 279, 401.
55 Ibid., pp. 293, 353.
56 Ibid., pp. 28-29, H3, 127, 128; vol. xli, p. 259.
THE NATIONAL REPUBLICANS 65
and this convention was mainly for the purpose of stimulat
ing enthusiasm for the party and its candidate.
There was need of such stimulation. The reorganization
of Jackson s cabinet in the summer of 1831 had eliminated
the Eaton scandal as a ground of attack, and the group of
able and intelligent gentlemen whom Jackson summoned to
the new cabinet had decidedly strengthened the administra
tion in the country at large. 57 Furthermore the Maysville
veto had not reacted nearly as much to Jackson s disad
vantage as the National Republicans had anticipated. A
letter from William Carroll, governor of Tennessee, to
Nicholas Biddle at this time, referring to Jackson s strength
in the West stated, " his popularity remains much as it was
in most of the Western country." 58 Moreover, Clay had
refused from motives of " principle and policy " to make any
statement or declaration which would conciliate the Anti-
masons, 59 and in September they entered the field as a na
tional party behind Wirt, thus dividing the potential opposi
tion to Jackson. Another ground for pessimism was the
fact that in spite of the efforts of the managers in New
York, the National Republican party was so weak that the
fall elections of 1831 were almost wholly a Democratic- Anti-
masonic contest. 60 In addition to all this Clay had allowed
his state legislature to elect him to the Senate in November, 61
a move the wisdom of which, with the campaign so far ad
vanced, was doubtful. It looked as if he thought that a
bird in the hand was worth two in the bush. On the whole
the prospect for a successful campaign in 1832 was not at
Clay himself was well aware of this unpromising outlook.
He wrote his Virginia manager, Judge Brooke, on December
9, 1831, "The impression is that the Baltimore convention
57 James Buchanan, Works (J. B. Moore, Ed.), vol. ii, pp. 177-178.
58 Carroll to Biddle, June 29, 1831, Biddle MSS.
59 Clay to Brooke, July 18, 1831, Clay, Correspondence, p. 306.
ao Niles Register, vol. xli, p. 237.
66 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
will make a nomination of me. I wish I could add that
the impression was more favorable than it is of the success
of such a nomination. Something, however, may turn up
(and that must be our encouraging hope) to give a brighter
aspect to our affairs." 62 Within a month after the date of
this letter, something which will be noticed in a subsequent
chapter, did " turn up " the Bank of the United States.
The National Republican delegates to Baltimore convened
at the Athenaeum on Monday, December 12, 1831, with only
135 present, 63 owing to the state of weather and roads. For
this reason the principal action on this day was to elect
Abner Lacock of Pennsylvania, a former Crawford man who
was opposed to Jackson, chairman pro tempore and to adopt
a resolution inviting all newspaper editors and reporters to
seats set apart for them. The meeting then adjourned till
the next day. 64
Another resolution had provided for the examination of
the delegates credentials by each delegation for itself, and,
having done so, each was then to report a list of its personnel
to the secretary of the convention on Tuesday. The Tues
day session, therefore, began with a roll call by States which
showed 156 members present from seventeen States. John
Holmes, delegate and Senator from Maine, then moved that
a committee of five be appointed to recommend permanent
officers and to " report what further proceedings they might
deem necessary." This marks the introduction into our
convention practice of the Committee on Permanent Organ-
62 Clay to Brooke, December 9, 1830, Clay, Correspondence, p. 321.
63 The total number of delegates attending the convention was
168, from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode
Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Dela
ware, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky.
Ohio, Indiana, Louisiana and the District of Columbia; cf. Journal
of the National Republican Convention, in History Pamphlets, vol.
293, Johns Hopkins University Library.
64 Niles Register, vol. xli, p. 301. Niles Register contains a full
account of the convention s proceedings. Hezekiah Niles was pres
ent in person during the convention s deliberations. See also Jour
nal of the National Republican Convention.
THE NATIONAL REPUBLICANS 67
ization, wherein this convention was followed by the Demo
crats five months later. The duty to suggest other matters
for the convention s consideration was a charge like that of
the Antimasonic committee on subjects and order of busi
ness. On this, the most important committee in the National
Republican convention, were appointed none but party lead
ers; namely, Holmes of Maine, John Sergeant of Pennsyl
vania, Henry A. S. Dearborn of Massachusetts, James
Thomas of Maryland, and James W. Denny of Kentucky.
After a brief interval this committee recommended for per
manent president James Barbour of Virginia, a former col
league of Clay in Adams cabinet, four vice-presidents and
two secretaries. 63
Barbour was then installed and delivered a short speech
more nearly " keynote " in character than that in either of
the other party conventions. 66 After invitations had been
extended to Charles Carroll and other distinguished Balti-
moreans to sit within the bar of the convention, Holmes of
the organization and order-of-business committee recom
mended that the convention " do now proceed to nominate a
candidate for . . . president to be supported by those who
are opposed to the reelection of Andrew Jackson." This
was adopted and here Barbour laid before the house a letter
he had received a day or two earlier from Clay, with the
latter s request that it be laid before the convention should
his name be brought up as candidate. It was an earnest
plea from Clay to the convention to dismiss all thoughts of
himself and to weigh with him every man available for
nomination solely on the basis of fitness for such a position.
Clay s motive in this move is not clear; it may have been a
sincere desire to stand in the way of no one who might be
deemed more capable of combining back of one man all the
elements opposed to Jackson, possibly John McLean; or it
may have been designed to dispel the general impression that
15 Miles Register, vol.. xli, p. 301.
66 Cf. Niles Register, vol. xli, p. 302, with Antimasonic Conven
tion Proceedings and The Globe of May 23, 1832.
68 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
the convention had assembled merely to stimulate interest
in his campaign and to nominate him. 67 Of these two mo
tives the latter seems to me the more probable.
Peter R. Livingston, a recent convert from the New York
Democrats, now rose and made the first nominating speech
in national convention history. Unfortunately, it is not re
ported ; the fullest record merely says " Mr. Livingston . . .
rose, and, after some pertinent and eloquent remarks, nom
inated Henry Clay, which was received with loud and re
iterated applause." 68 On Dearborn s suggestion that con
vention then adopted what was destined to be the forerunner
of the modern practice of voting. The method of choosing
nominees in both of the other two conventions had been by
secret ballot ; here it was by roll call, each delegate rising as
called and orally naming the man of his choice. It differed
from the present-day method, however, in being a roll call
of individual delegates, instead of state delegations. This
resulted in every member present voting for Clay, except
one delegate who had no preference and was excused from
voting. 69 In accordance with the precedent established by
the Antimasons, Clay was then unanimously nominated by
acclamation. The chair was authorized to appoint a com
mittee of seven to draft the customary address to the nation
and of this body Alexander H. Everett was chairman.
Another convention precedent was established when each
delegation was authorized to name one member of a notifica
tion committee which should apprise Clay of his nomination.
The method of doing this was left to the committee s discre
tion, so they addressed him a letter and delegated a sub-
6T Cf. Clay s letter, Niles Register, vol. xli, p. 302, with his ac
ceptance in ibid., p. 304. See also Andrew Stewart to McLean,
November 24, 1831, McLean MSS.; Clay to Brooke, December g,
1831, Clay, Correspondence, p. 321 ; Jackson to Van Buren, De
cember 17, 1831, Van Buren MSS.; The Globe, December 15, 1831,
excerpt from [Philadelphia] National Gazette.
68 Niles Register, vol. xli, p. 302.
69 Ibid., pp. 300-303 ; Journal of the National Republican Conven
THE NATIONAL REPUBLICANS 69
committee of five to set out for Washington with it at once.
The convention then adjourned until the next day. 70
The delegates, and the party as well, had heretofore ap
parently been so intent on nominating Clay for president that
no one seems to have given any thought as to who should
be second on the ticket, and there was no consensus of opin
ion in favor of anyone, 71 hence no nomination for vice-pres
ident was attempted immediately after the choice of Clay.
The selection must have been made in caucus or consultation
outside the convention, but there is no definite information
as to this.
On Wednesday, after some minor business such as seat
ing a few late-arriving delegates, the notification committee
read Clay s brief letter of acceptance, which was received
with great applause. A motion was then adopted to proceed
with the vice-presidential nominations, and Boyd McNairy,
the sole delegate from Tennessee, placed John Sergeant of
Pennsylvania in nomination, but without making a speech.
At this juncture Walter Jones of the District of Columbia
delegation arose and made the first speech in national con
vention history seconding a nomination. There were no
more nominations, and by the same method as had been used
the day before Sergeant was unanimously nominated, and a
committee of five was appointed by the chairman to notify
him. The convention then appointed a finance committee
to meet printing and incidental expenses, and another to wait
on Carroll, who was unable to accept the invitation to visit
the meeting, and ascertain a time when the convention could
call on him in a body. Adjournment until next day then
On Thursday the convention provided for the further con
duct of the campaign by recommending to the party in each
70 Journal of the National Republican Convention; Niles Reg
ister, vol. xli, p. 303.
71 Niles Register, vol. xli, pp. 304-305; Globe, December 15, 1831,
excerpt from [Philadelphia] National Gazette.
72 Niles Register, vol. xli, p. 304; Journal of the National Re
7O THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
State to form a central corresponding committee, and to
organize local committees in every county and town. It
was nearly eleven months before the election would take
place, too long an interval to pass without some further large
demonstration by the party, hence it was felt necessary to
stir up enthusiasm by another convention. Therefore a
resolution was adopted recommending to the young men of
the party to hold a national convention in Washington the
first Monday in May, 1832. The committee s written notifi
cation to Sergeant and his acceptance were then read. After
this the meeting took a recess until afternoon, when it re
assembled at four o clock and marched in a body to pay its
respects to Charles Carroll. 78
Friday, December 16, was the closing day. Its chief busi
ness was the reading and adoption of the address to the
people. This document in substance was more nearly akin
to the platform of to-day than that adopted by the Antima-
sons. The latter had been more of a diatribe against the
evils of Masonry than a statement of remedial measures for
those evils, and contained next to nothing in the way of a
constructive governmental policy. The National Republican
address was mainly a criticism of Jackson s administration
as contrasted with that of Adams, and a condemnation of
its policy as to removals from office, the Indians, internal
improvemments, and the Bank. It recommended as the pan
acea for all these ills, the election of Clay and Sergeant. 74
There followed a resolution to print 10,000 copies of this
address, and another urging the delegates " to promote among
their constituents a zealous support of the principles of the
national republican party and of the candidates named by
this convention." 75 Next came the usual votes of thanks
to committees and officers, and, after an address by Barbour,
the convention adjourned, sine die. 76
73 N iles Register, vol. xli, pp. 305-306.
74 Ibid., pp. 306-312.
7 * Ibid., p. 306.
76 Ibid., p. 306 ; Journal of the National Republican Convention.
THE NATIONAL REPUBLICANS 71
The National Republican convention was not a nominating
body in as genuine a sense as was either the Antitnasonic or
the Democratic convention. Its choice of a candidate was
so certain before the convention was planned, that its nom
ination of Clay was more the act of a ratifying than that of
a truly nominating body. At the same time there are cer
tain points in convention practice for which this meeting of
National Republicans deserves the credit above either of the
other two conventions. Briefly stated they are: its nearer
approach to a true key-note speech from its permanent
chairman ; the first nominating speech and the first seconding
speech; the introduction of the oral vote by roll call; the
present day form of the notification committee; and the
greater party enthusiasm manifested in its proceedings.
Jackson had not been elected in 1828 by a definite political
party, for that term implies a political group with definite
constitutional principles and party organization. The fol
lowing which had elected him had been, as a whole, united
in but one purpose to elect him president over Adams.
Broadly speaking, his election was accomplished by his per
sonal popularity, reinforced by the remnant of the old Re
publican party led by Van Buren, to which was joined the
personal following of Calhoun. Each of these groups or
factions, collectively known as "the friends of Jackson,"
had supported him from a different motive and expected a
different result from the joint success. They may for con
venience be styled the Western group, the Calhoun group,
and the Crawford group.
The Western group, whose type he was, comprised the
backbone of Jackson s strength. It embraced the bulk of
the country s democracy, with most of its numbers west of
the Alleghenies, in Pennsylvania, in western Virginia and
North Carolina. Jackson was its idol and it was firmly con
vinced of his entire integrity in all things. 1 He knew these
people thoroughly, understood better than any man of his
time their likes and dislikes, and fully realized that most of
his strength lay with them. 2 This group had enthusias
tically supported him against what they regarded as a cor
rupt and unprincipled aristocracy 3 and confidently expected
his election to introduce an era of reform and of government
1 James Buchanan to McLean, June n, 1829, McLean MSS.
2 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 253.
3 W. B. Lewis to J. A. Hamilton, December 12, 1828, Van Buren
THE DEMOCRATS 73
by the people, 4 however vague their ideas may have been as
to the meaning of the latter phrase. In one respect this
Western group was inferior to either of the other two.
While it had many upright men like Hugh L. White, and
many local politicians of some ability like Lewis and Ken
dall, of political leaders with a national reputation for acu
men, education, and social standing, there was not one com
parable to many in Calhoun s train.
The Calhoun group embraced the bulk of the party s aris
tocratic, educated and socially prominent men of national
reputation, both in Congress and in politics. Numerically
it was the smallest of the three groups ; in the weight of its
leaders influence in the party it was the strongest. It num
bered among these leaders Calhoun himself, James Hamil
ton, Jr., Robert Y. Hayne, George M. Dallas, Samuel D.
Ingham, John Branch and John McP. Berrien. It was the
dominant political force in South Carolina, with considerable
strength in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina and Penn
sylvania. The culture, standing, and constitutional doc
trines of its leaders likewise appealed strongly to Virginia.
Led by Calhoun, it had supported Jackson mainly for the
advantage which, through its leader, it expected to derive
from such support. 5 As the campaign had progressed and
opposition to the tariff had grown stronger, the rank and file
of the faction, especially in South Carolina, became more
and more actuated by dislike of Adams nationalism and by
the hope that Jackson s indefinite views on tariff and in
ternal improvements would develop in favor of their par
This strict construction sentiment and consequent dislike
of Adams had been the factor which had enabled Van Buren
to reestablish the Virginia-New York Alliance and to swing
those States into the Jackson column. The bulk of the
4 Jackson to Van Buren, March 31, 1829, Jackson MSS.; Benton,
Thirty Years View, vol. i, p. in.
6 Adams, Memoirs, vol. viii, pp. 506-507.
74 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
Crawford group was essentially strict constructionist in its
principles and had made a choice between what it regarded
as the lesser of two evils in supporting Jackson. It looked
to Van Buren as its political leader, and it was his leadership,
backed by Regency and Junto, which had insured success.
It expected therefore of Jackson a cabinet of able men and
a policy for which strict construction would be the basis.
It outnumbered the Calhoun group, being in control of New
York, Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina, but Van Buren
aside, could not compare with the Calhoun group in number
of nationally prominent political leaders.
On account of Van Buren s substantial contribution to
Jackson s success, the consensus of opinion in both the
Western and Crawford groups of Jacksonians had been for
six months before the election that to him was due the chief
position in the new cabinet, and that he would receive it. 6
That Calhoun had supported Jackson, with the expectation
of succeeding him as president, there is no doubt. 7 Further
more, Jackson s advocacy of one-term presidential tenure 8
would naturally confirm Calhoun in the belief that the Pres
ident would retire at the end of four years. In addition,
Jackson s frail health in 1829 made it doubtful if he would
survive four years, 9 far less undergo the turmoil of another
campaign. For these reasons as well as for the important
part the leaders of his group had played in supporting Jack
son, Calhoun expected not only to be the heir apparent, but
also to have several of his friends in the cabinet. 10 Accord
ing to Benton and Van Buren, 11 Jackson regarded Calhoun at
this time with favor as his successor.
It was these cabinet selections which gave rise to the first
traces of the intra-party contest for the succession. The
Hammond, vol. ii, pp. 282-283 ; Ritchie to Van Buren, March
n, 1828, January 31, 1829; Lewis to Van Buren, December 12, 1828,
Van Buren MSS.; Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 224, 229-231.
7 Cf. Adams, Memoirs, vol. vi, pp. 506-507.
8 Niles Register, vol. xxix, p. 157.
9 M. T. Simpson to McLean, March I, 1829, McLean MSS.
10 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 341.
11 Ibid., p. 410.
THE DEMOCRATS 75
Western group of leaders felt that they had formed the basis
of Jackson s success and were distinctly averse to seeing the
Calhoun leaders compose the majority of the cabinet. More
over, they had been closely in touch with Van Buren during
the campaign; hence it was but natural that they should
welcome the New Yorker as Secretary of State and as a
possible ally. From the first of December, 1828, to the end
of February, 1829, Washington was the scene of a prelim
inary skirmish between Calhoun partizans on the one hand
and the Western group, aided by Van Buren s friends, on
the other, over the cabinet personnel. Calhoun and Van
Buren were not in the city during this time, but their re
spective friends were most active. Duff Green was openly
referring to his patron, Calhoun, as the party s next candi
date for president, and intimations and rumors were set on
foot by others to discourage Van Buren from accepting the
State Department. 12 The Western group of Jacksonians,
led by White, Eaton, Moore and Bradley, espoused Van
Buren s cause, and he was represented by his friends James
A. Hamilton and G. C. Verplanck. Their efforts were
mainly directed toward counteracting rumors and reports
hostile to Van Buren. This marks the beginning of the
struggle for supremacy and the succession within the Demo
cratic party between the Calhoun group on the one side and
the Van Buren on the other, the latter including Jackson s
Jackson himself settled the cabinet question and to no
one s liking but his own. 13 To Van Buren went the chief
place. Jackson, bent on having one personal friend in the
cabinet, gave the War Department to John H. Eaton, and
eventually made another Westerner, William T. Barry, Post-
Master General. Calhoun s friend, Samuel D. Ingham of
Pennsylvania, received the Treasury Department, another
12 Gulian C. Verplanck to Van Buren, December 6, 1828, De
cember 30, 1828, Van Buren MSS.
13 J. A. Hamilton, Reminiscences, pp. 80-101.
76 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
friend, John Branch of North Carolina, the N.avy Depart
ment, and still another, John M. Berrien of Georgia, the
Legal Department. 14 The one point upon which this cab
inet could agree was aversion to Clay; there was no other
harmonizing factor; and there was a distinct coolness be
tween Van Buren and Berrien from the outset. 15 All the
elements for a contest for supremacy were present; Van
Buren, Eaton and Barry against the three Calhoun men,
with Jackson s sympathy inclined toward the former. But
it was Jackson s choice and nothing would induce him to
change it. It was his first positive assertion of himself as
the de facto head of the party.
Jackson seems to have been ignorant of, or else to have
deliberately ignored, the possibilities of antagonism between
these two cabinet groups. Unless harmony could be speedily
developed between the two factions, an open break between
their respective leaders, Calhoun and Van Buren, would be
merely a matter of time. The President of course would be
the determining factor. To the side he favored would go
the prize, the support of his tremendous popularity and in
fluence in the West exerted in behalf of his chosen successor.
Another factor, at first unnoticed, but destined to figure
prominently in determining the outcome of the Calhoun-
Van Buren contest, was the " Kitchen n or " Back-stairs
Cabinet." All his past life Jackson had acted on his own
judgment and responsibility in cardinal matters. As a gen
eral he had called few military councils. As President he
seldom called cabinet meetings. 16 His opinion once formed
was unshakable, but he did not usually resort to snap judg
ment. When he wanted advice he preferred to discuss the
matter in hand with friends. There were several of these
outside the official cabinet, in particular William B. Lewis,
14 J. A. Hamilton to Van Buren, February 21, 27, March 6, 1829,
Van Buren MSS.
15 Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 213-216.
16 Niles Register, vol. xxxvi, p. 317; Adams, Memoirs, vol. viii,
THE DEMOCRATS 77
his close friend for years, Amos Kendall, a Kentucky editor
who had worked hard for him, Isaac Hill who had done like
wise in New Hampshire, and Duff Green, editor of the Tele
graph. Of these, Lewis was a member of his household
and, like Kendall and Hill, was appointed to a position in the
Treasury. These several friends, together with Eaton and
Van Buren, were privileged to call upon him at almost any
hour of day or night. This group was known as the
"Kitchen Cabinet," and Jackson advised with its members
much more than he did with the heads of the departments.
A fact significant for Calhoun s future was that, excepting
Duff Green whose membership was short, he had not a single
warm friend in this body, and moreover its whole personnel
was drawn from the most democratic and mainly from the
western wing of the party. It would, therefore, from the
outset, favor Van Buren against Calhoun and work against
the latter and his friends.
Three months before Jackson s inauguration another force
came into being which was to play a prominent part in pro
moting hostilities between the Van Buren and Calhoun
groups Mrs. Eaton. The daughter of a Washington tav
ern-keeper, physically attractive, of dubious reputation and
little culture, she had married a dissolute navy purser, Tim-
berlake by name, who later committed suicide. Common
report linked her name with Eaton s in a manner not wholly
creditable, even after her marriage to Timberlake. With
Jackson s approval Eaton married this woman January I,
As soon as it was known that Eaton would be in the cab
inet, an outcry arose from social Washington at the prospect
of associating with his wife. Mrs. Calhoun was among the
foremost in Washington society and Mesdames Ingham,
Branch and Berrien were likewise prominent. On the other
hand Jackson and Van Buren were widowers, and Barry
sided with them. Mrs. Calhoun and the other social leaders
17 Cambreleng to Van Buren, quoted in Parton, vol. iii, p. 185.
78 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
absolutely and persistently refused to associate with Mrs.
Eaton, deliberately ignoring her when no other resource was
available. Van Buren was attentive and polite to Mrs.
Eaton. He and the British and Russian ministers, Vaughn
and Krudener, single men like himself, and with whom he
was on excellent terms, united with him and the President
in a vain attempt to force Mrs. Eaton on society. It was
perhaps the only contest in Jackson s career from which he did
not emerge victor. Almost alone he sincerely believed in and
strongly maintained with every available resource the lady s
entire innocence. 18 It was to no avail, and the lady in ques
tion soon ceased attending social functions. Van Buren s
attitude toward Mrs. Eaton, his able handling of the State
Department, together with his amiable and conciliatory dis
position greatly endeared him to Jackson, and gave the latter
a very high opinion of the New Yorker s ability and tal
ents. 19 Van Buren in return cordially and sincerely re
ciprocated these sentiments. 20 On the other hand, the re
fusal of the families of Calhoun and the three secretaries to
associate with Mrs. Eaton in defiance of Jackson s wishes did
not operate very favorably upon the President s opinion of
The Eaton scandal was under way before Van Buren
reached Washington in 1829, so of course he did not in
stigate it, nor is there any evidence connecting either him
or Calhoun directly with utilizing the affair to advantage.
However, Calhoun could not but view Van Buren s rise in
Jackson s favor with alarm, and the New Yorker could not
have been oblivious to the fact that attentions to Mrs. Eaton
were highly pleasing to the President. In addition to this,
the Van Buren group the leaders of Jackson s western fol
lowing, including the " Kitchen Cabinet," and the New
Yorker s supporters of the former Crawford faction were
18 Parton, Life of Jackson, vol. iii, pp. 184-205 ; Bassett, Life of
Jackson, vol. ii, pp. 458-474.
19 Jackson to Hugh L. White, April 9, 1831, Jackson MSS.
20 Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 232, 345.
THE DEMOCRATS 79
bent on utilizing the Eaton affair to secure Calhoun s down
fall as heir apparent. Such being the case, it is not sur
prising that all efforts to quiet the scandal failed, that the
affair dragged on through 1830, and that already by the end
of 1829, according to a contemporary, the first officers of the
government had divided into two hostile parties on the ques
tion of the proper treatment of Mrs. Eaton Calhoun, Ing-
ham, Branch and Berrien on one side, the President, Van
Buren, Eaton and Barry on the other. 21 More serious for
Calhoun still, relations between him and the President were
seriously strained. 22
In January, 1830, there occurred in the Senate the great
Hay ne- Webster debate on the theory of the Union, involving
the main principles of States Rights, and hinting at the prin
ciple of nullification. In this debate it was generally believed
that Hayne was voicing the sentiments and opinions of Cal
houn, 23 which fact did not at all raise Calhoun in Jackson s
estimation. Since the Van Buren group had the President s
private ear and most of his confidence, it is not surprising
that warnings came to Jackson that Calhoun s friends were
working secretly in Pennsylvania to undermine the Presi
dent in order to limit him to one term. These warnings in
the form of letters further asked why the President con
tinued to maintain a plotter like Ingham in his cabinet. 24
On the heels of these warnings occurred the Jefferson anni
versary dinner, April 13, 1830. This brought matters to a
head. At this dinner Calhoun s entire committal to nulli
fication became so fully apparent that from that moment his
already slender chances for endorsement by Jackson as his
successor vanished forever, as well as all his remaining
chances of support from Pennsylvania. 25
21 Mrs. M. B. Smith, The First Forty Years of Washington So
ciety (Hunt, Ed.), p. 310.
22 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 323.
23 Benton, Thirty Years View, vol. i, p. 138.
24 Ross Wilkins to General Bernard, April 3, 1830; H. Petriken
to Jackson, April 2, 1830, Jackson MSS.
25 Simpson to McLean, April 30, 1830; R. Ruggles to McLean,
May 5, 1830, McLean MSS.
8O THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
Calhoun had played into his enemies hands, first in the
Eaton affair, second indirectly through Hayne s sentiments
in the debate with Webster, and lastly by his emergence at
the Jefferson dinner into open accord with the nullification-
ists. This last ruined irreparably any remaining chance for
support from Pennsylvania and New England should he
bolt the Democratic party, and all three operated to intensify
Jackson s growing dislike for him.
During all this time Calhoun s enemies held their dead
liest weapon against him in reserve. When he was Secre
tary of War under Monroe, the Seminole War occurred,
and Jackson, who pursued the Indians into Florida, had
committed serious acts of indiscretion. In a cabinet meet
ing Calhoun expressed himself in favor of reprimanding or
punishing Jackson in some way for exceeding his instruc
tions. Of this fact Jackson still remained entirely ignorant,
but Crawford of Georgia was fully informed and hated
Calhoun cordially. Moreover two of the Georgian s former
supporters and friends, now in the Jackson party, James A.
Hamilton and John Forsyth, had learned of the matter from
Crawford early in 1828, and the evidence was contained in
a letter written to Hamilton by Forsyth after an interview
with Crawford. 26 Hamilton was an intimate friend of Van
Buren. He revealed this letter to Lewis in i829. 2T
In November, 1829, Eaton and Lewis informed Jackson of
the existence of this letter and he at once demanded it. 28
Forsyth was due in Washington as Senator from Georgia
shortly, and thither came Hamilton also. After a confer
ence with Jackson it was agreed that Forsyth should write
Crawford for more authoritative and corroborative evidence.
This was early in December, 1829. For some unknown rea
son Forsyth did not write Crawford until the sixteenth of
28 Niles Register, vol. xl, p. 45.
27 Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 368-373 ; Parton, Life of Jack
son, vol. iii, pp. 310-320.
28 Lewis statement, given in Parton, vol. iii, pp. 323-324.
THE DEMOCRATS 8 1
the following April, 29 three days after the Jefferson dinner
had placed Jackson squarely and openly at odds with Cal-
houn as to nullification. This circumstance looks as if the
delay had been deliberate, as if awaiting an especially favor
able opportunity for placing in Jackson s hands such a
weapon for Calhoun s undoing.
Crawford replied to Forsyth on April 30, 1830, with a
letter in which he stated that Calhoun had in Monroe s cab
inet advocated that " Jackson should be punished in some
form, or reprimanded in some form." 30 On May 12, 1830,
Forsyth delivered his letter to Jackson who enclosed it next
day to Calhoun, with a short but pointed request to be in
formed if it was true. 31 Calhoun replied at once stating
that he would deal with the matter more at length in a few
days and expressing his indignation at it as the culmination
of "the secret and mysterious attempts which have been
making, by false insinuations, for years, for political pur
poses, to injure my character." 32
Calhoun had not been guilty of duplicity toward Jackson.
Since his opinion, expressed in cabinet meeting and so under
restriction of secrecy, was not adopted, it made no difference,
and he was under no obligation to reveal it, quite the con
trary in fact. His best course now would have been to
assume high ground, to refuse to disclose cabinet secrets and
so let the matter rest. He was betrayed by an apparent
desire to stand well with Jackson, and on May 29, 1830,
replied at prodigious length, 33 practically admitted that the
charge was true, attempted to justify himself, and ascribed
29 For Crawford s and Forsyth s letters, see Niles Register, vol.
xl, p. 12.
30 Crawford to Forsyth, April 30, 1830, Niles Register, vol. xl,
31 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 374 ; Jackson to Calhoun, May
13, 1830, Jackson MSS.
32 Calhoun to Jackson, May 13, 1830, Niles Register, vol. xl,
33 Calhoun to Jackson, May 29, 1830, Jackson MSS. This letter
is 48 pages long.
82 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
the whole affair to machinations of political enemies. Jack
son forthwith replied that he had asked for no justification
of Calhoun s motives but merely to know if the charge was
true, and that, as Calhoun admitted having acted insincerely,
" no further communication with you on this subject is nec
Calhoun s political undoing was complete. Before him
lay a choice of two courses. He could either go to the
enemy and follow Clay s leadership, a move which meant
political suicide in the South, or else remain in the party
under the scowl of Jackson and attempt to force himself
upon the latter as his successor and the party s future leader
by crushing every competitor. He decided upon the second
Despite Van Buren s refusal to have anything to do with
the controversy between Jackson and Calhoun, 35 the latter
firmly believed that Van Buren was at the bottom of the
attack on him. 36 He had been of this opinion for about six
months before the break with Jackson, and his friends had
been fighting hard against the Van Buren group during that
time. 37 Calhoun s great difficulty in the struggle was stated
by Webster thus : " Calhoun is forming a party against Van
Buren, and as the President is supposed to be Van Buren s
man, the Vice-President has great difficulty to separate his
opposition to Van Buren from opposition to the President." 38
The breach between Calhoun and Jackson was not known to
the public at the time May, 1830. It was certain to leak
out in the course of some months, however, and Calhoun
and his friends resolved to be prepared against that day.
Accordingly, with Duff Green as the agent, they began form-
84 Jackson to Calhoun, May 29, 1830, Niles Register, vol. xl, p. 17.
35 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 376; Farton, Life of Jackson,
vol. iii, pp. 326-327.
36 Calhoun, Correspondence, Annual Report of the American His
torical Association for 1899 (J. F. Jameson, Ed.), vol. ii, pp. 289-
37 Webster, Correspondence, vol. i, p. 483.
ss Ibid., p. 488.
THE DEMOCRATS 83
ing a plan whose success would not only demolish Van Buren
politically, but would also push Jackson aside as party leader
and as candidate for reelection.
Duff Green s Telegraph, the party s official newspaper,
had been consistently loyal to Calhoun. Indeed, since the
beginning of the administration its inclination had been more
toward Calhoun than toward Jackson, but this it had kept
for the most part within bounds. Green had become dis
satisfied three months after Jackson was inaugurated, be
cause he was not given a larger share of the public printing,
of which he already did a large part. 39 As the Van Buren
group grew in strength and in favor with Jackson, " General
Duff" became more and more hostile to it and correspond
ingly ardent for Calhoun. 40 By the first of 1830, Green had
become so distasteful to the West as party editor, that there
were some in that section in favor of his removal. 41 In the
spring and early summer of 1830, he began to differ with the
administration s friends as to the value of the United States
Bank. This drew a recommendation to Jackson from James
A. Hamilton in New York to the effect that the administra
tion " should change its official organ" 42 Between this date
and the end of the year, Green and the Calhoun men were
at work on their plan for achieving a complete victory.
The plan was, in brief, to acquire in each State the con
trol of the party s leading newspapers and to place them in
charge of Democrats friendly to Calhoun. This being
effected, the Telegraph would startle the country by publish
ing the news of the rupture between the President and Cal
houn, ascribe it to the intrigues of Van Buren, and publish
the Jackson-Calhoun correspondence as proof. The con
trolled presses were then to take it up, openly to side with
Calhoun, and the resulting outcry against Van Buren, it was
39 Simpson to McLean, June 9, 1829, McLean MSS. ; Benton,
vol. i, p. 129.
40 Simpson to McLean, October n, 1829, McLean MSS.
41 J. P. Taylor to McLean, January 31, 1830, McLean MSS.
42 Hamilton to Jackson, July 29, 1830, Jackson MSS.
84 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
expected, would be so great that not even Jackson s popu
larity would save the situation. This, it was hoped, would
ruin Van Buren politically, and perhaps prevent Jackson
from becoming a candidate for reelection. Calhoun, it
should be stated, had during this time been making every
effort to collect proof of his entire blamelessness and of Van
Buren s responsibility for the rupture with Jackson. His
long letter to Jackson of May 29, 1830, had been written
with an eye to future publication, and he had labored hard
to show that the break was the result of "a political ma
neuver in which the design is that you [Jackson] should be
the instrument and myself the victim, but in which the real
actors are carefully concealed." 43 During the remainder of
1830, he wrote Monroe and the members of his cabinet seek
ing documentary evidence that Jackson had exceeded his
orders in the Florida campaign. 4 * This was to show the rec
titude of his own course toward Jackson in 1818.
In the course of the attempt to gain control of newspapers,
Duff Green had revealed the plan to Gideon Welles, then
editor of the Jackson paper at Hartford, Connecticut, 45 and
also to J. M. Duncanson, one of the administration s job
printers in Washington, whose establishment he offered to
buy and then to vest in him the editorship of the Frankfort
[Kentucky] Argus. 46 Both of these gentlemen revealed the
plot to Van Buren and Jackson. This scheme, inklings of
which had doubtless reached the administration in the fall
of 1830, together with Duff Green s other shortcomings, re
sulted in the elimination of the Telegraph as the party organ.
A friend and former co-editor of Kendall s, Francis P.
Blair, was called to Washington from Kentucky, and with
the aid and patronage of the administration established The
Globe, whose first issue appeared about the first of Decem-
43 Calhoun to Jackson, May 29, 1830, Jackson MSS.; Niles Reg
ister, vol. xl, p. 16.
44 Niles Register, vol. xl, pp. 23-24.
* 5 Welles to Van Buren, December 27, 1830, Van Buren MSS.
48 Benton, vol. i, pp. 128-129.
THE DEMOCRATS 85
her, i83O. 47 Administration papers then proclaimed far and
wide that the Telegraph no longer enjoyed the administra
tion s confidence, and that henceforth The Globe would func
tion in that capacity. Thus Duff Green was placed in the
same category as Calhoun, completely discredited with the
bulk of the party but nominally still a member of it. By
this means the administration fortified itself for its next
passage at arms with Calhoun.
By the end of November, 1830, the rupture between Jack
son and Calhoun was beginning to be known and references
to its cause, often contradictory, were appearing in the
papers. 48 Although, for all his efforts, Calhoun had not been
able to trace the movement against him to Van Buren direct,
he believed that the time was about ripe to expose the whole
matter in detail and that to do so would blast Van Buren
politically. 49 Inasmuch as many prominent members of the
party feared that open rupture would distract and weaken
it, attempts at reconciliation were made by mutual friends
of the President and Vice-President. These attempts proved
The Telegraph, on February 15, 1831, proceeded to pre
pare the way for the revelation by publishing extracts from
certain newspapers to give the impression that Van Buren
would come out for president if Jackson declined to run. 60
On the 1 7th, Green published the entire correspondence. 51
It was a bad move, for it savored too much of an attack on
Jackson and the latter s friends rallied to him and Van Buren.
The administration papers, led by The Globe, blazed forth
against Calhoun immediately, denounced the publication of
the correspondence as " wholly uncalled for " and as " a fire
brand wantonly thrown into the Republican party/ for
47 Richards to McLean, December i, 1830, McLean MSS.
48 Ibid., Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 376.
49 Calhoun, Correspondence, pp. 279-283.
60 Telegraph, February 15, 1831.
81 Ibid., February 17, 22, 1831; Niles Register, vol. xl, pp. 11-24
86 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
which "Calhoun will be held responsible." 52 To this the
Calhoun papers, especially in Virginia and South Carolina,
retorted by accusing Van Buren of bringing about the break
by means of political trickery in order to further his own
interests. 53 There was, however, no general rising of the
press in favor of Calhoun; that plan had been frustrated
by the prompt and timely elimination of the Telegraph as
the party newspaper, and by the hold which Jackson had on
the vast majority of his party.
From this time there was open war between the main part
of the party led by Jackson and such insurgents as Calhoun
could enlist. The former struggle between the Van Buren
and Calhoun groups over the succession entered its second
phase with the open break between Calhoun and the Presi
dent. This break was a distinct triumph for the Van Buren
element since it aligned the weight of Jackson s strength
with them. As Calhoun could not easily leave the party,
the contest was now resolved into an effort by him, with any
assistance he could obtain, to defeat Van Buren in 1832 for
either president or vice-president.
This struggle between the Calhoun and Van Buren fac
tions, resulting in the former s insurgency, was directly
responsible for Jackson s determination to be a candidate
for reelection, if the people appeared to desire it. Previous
to his election and again in both his first and second mes
sages to Congress he had recommended a limitation of the
presidential tenure to one term. 54 He seems to have pre
ferred sincerely a peaceful retirement to the Hermitage as
soon as compatible with the duties which he believed the
people desired him to perform. 55 His break with Calhoun
and the opinion he had formed of the latter s duplicity and
52 Globe, February 21, 1831.
53 Miles Register, vol. xl, pp. 70-72.
5 * Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, vol. ii, pp.
55 Jackson to Van Buren, August 8, September 5, 18, 1831, Van
THE DEMOCRATS 87
attitude as to nullification, together with his admiration and
friendship for Van Buren were prominent factors in his de
cision to stand for reelection. He was furthermore in
fluenced by the fact that his party was not yet a completely
united political unit, and another campaign would be nec
essary to accomplish such a result and to enable him to
designate his successor. An additional incentive was the
fact that Calhoun could probably defeat Van Buren for the
party s presidential nomination, as the latter was not at all
widely popular. This being the case, quite naturally the
Van Buren group spared no pains to impress upon Jackson
the people s desire that he should stand for reelection. Over
and above all this, Jackson had his heart set on the payment
of the national debt as a triumph of an economical policy,
and had also begun a struggle with the Bank of the United
States, on whose overthrow he believed the nation s future
was largely dependent. He was the more ready for a second
campaign since the National Republicans led by Clay were
attacking his measures past and present furiously, and the old
soldier s " determination never to be driven by my enemies "
made a withdrawal under fire repugnant to him. 56
The Van Buren group were not ignorant of the danger of
attempting to combat Calhoun for the presidency in 1832,
even with Jackson s aid, and hence neglected no precautions
to convince the " Old Hero " that the people wanted him
for president again. 57 Early in 1830 the New York Courier
and Enquirer began breaking ground for Jackson. 58 Work
ing through the editor of the party paper at Harrisburg,
the " Kitchen Cabinet " drew up a letter to Jackson signed
by sixty-eight members of the Pennsylvania legislature, re
questing the President to stand for reelection. 59 This was
but the beginning. On March 31, 1830, the Jackson mem
bers of that legislature, after a sharp contest with the Cal-
58 Ibid., September 18, 1831.
57 Clay, Correspondence, pp. 259-260, 262-263.
58 New York Courier and Enquirer, March 12, 15, 20, 1830.
59 Parton, Life of Jackson, vol. iii, pp. 279-302.
88 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
houn faction in that body, carried resolutions endorsing the
administration, and stating, "That . . . the unity and har
mony of the great democratic party of the Union will be
greatly promoted " by Jackson s reelection. 60 The Regency-
controlled legislature in New York followed suit April 13,**
and thus, before Jackson broke with Calhoun in May, there
was already considerable pressure upon the President to be
again a candidate. The action of the Democrats of the
Pennsylvania and New York legislatures was followed by
those of New Hampshire in June, 62 and of Alabama in De
cember, i83O, 63 and in January, 1831, before the rupture
with Calhoun was openly proclaimed, The Globe announced
itself authorized to say that the President would not decline
a second term. 64
Jackson regarded Calhoun s publication of their cor
respondence in the light of an open defiance. Once en
gaged in a cause he never stopped at half measures. There
were three of Calhoun s friends in the cabinet, of whose
secret plotting, directed by Calhoun and Duff Green, Jack
son was firmly convinced. 66 By the first of 1831 he was
ready for decisive action against these three, but caution was
necessary. The publication of the correspondence contain
ing Calhoun s attempt to lay the blame for the break with
Jackson at Van Buren s door had produced considerable ex
citement and indignation against the New Yorker in Vir
ginia. This was ominous, for Virginia at that time exerted
a greater influence than any other State upon the general
sentiment of the country. 66 Van Buren was warned of
60 Harrisburg Reporter, April 2, 1830, in Niles Register, vol.
xxxviii, pp. 169-170; H. Petriken to Jackson, April 2, 1830; Ross
Wilkins to General Bernard, April 3, 1830, Jackson MSS.
81 Niles Register, vol. xl, p. 170.
62 Ibid., vol. xxxviii, pp. 292-293.
83 Ibid., vol. xxxix, p. 341.
6 * Ibid., p. 385 ; cf . also ibid., vol. xl, p. 127.
85 C. I. Jack to , November 10, 1830; Jackson to Mrs.
Emily Donelson, January 20, 1831, A. J. Donelson MSS.; Jackson
to Overton, December 31, 1830, Jackson MSS.
68 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 385.
THE DEMOCRATS 89
danger by his friend Ritchie 67 just after the correspondence
had been published. A fortnight later another friend, W. S.
Archer, a Congressman, wrote from Richmond in great alarm
that Van Buren was widely regarded as the prime mover in
the plot to overturn Calhoun in the administration s con
fidence, that there was much sympathy for Calhoun, that
the administration was highly unpopular and that nothing
could restore it except a thorough reorganization of the
cabinet, including Van Buren s resignation. 68
In this crisis, Van Buren resolved upon a master stroke
to resign from the cabinet himself and if possible to draw
Eaton into a like course. This would enable Jackson to re
move the Calhoun members and would go far toward con
tradicting the impression that Van Buren himself had caused
the rupture to further his own ambition. The difficulty was
to win over Jackson himself, as his loyalty to Van Buren
and Eaton would operate powerfully against a course which
to him would at first appear tantamount to quitting under
fire from the enemy. At last, however, Van Buren suc
ceeded in convincing Jackson of the advisability of his
resignation. The President would not hear of his retiring
to private life lest the enemy regard it as a victory, and in
sisted that the secretary take the mission to England in
stead. Eaton s name was not first mentioned. However,
as the plan was discussed between Jackson, Van Buren,
Eaton, Lewis and Barry, the drift of the conversation was
doubtless so much in that direction that Eaton finally an
nounced that he also would resign. 69
Thus the obstacle was surmounted, and in April the resig
nations were published, Ingham, Branch and Berrien being
forced to resign by Jackson. Edward Livingston became
the new Secretary of State, Van Buren replaced Louis
C7 Ritchie to Van Buren, February 21, 1831, Van Buren MSS.;
Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 385-386.
t8 W. S. Archer to Van Buren, March 12, 1831, Van Buren MSS.
89 For complete account of the cabinet break-up, see Van Buren,
Autobiography, pp. 402-408.
go THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
McLane in London and the latter received the Treasury
Department. Cass was made Secretary of War, Levi Wood-
bury Secretary of the Navy and Taney Attorney-General.
Barry was not removed as his place was not regarded as of
sufficient importance. During this and the preceding months
the " Kitchen Cabinet " also underwent a change in personnel.
Duff Green had long since been cast out and replaced by
Blair. Lewis by opposing Jackson s Bank policy had weak
ened his former influence as to matters of policy and was
limited mostly to party manipulation. Kendall and Hill, who
agreed with Jackson as to the Bank, together with Blair, were
now closest to the President. To these should be added
Taney and Barry of the official cabinet. Indeed, with the
new cabinet composing a harmonious whole, Jackson was less
given to advising with the " Kitchen Cabinet " in cardinal
matters of policy, but he depended more upon it for the actual
management and wire-working necessary to the direction of
the party as a political unit.
The cabinet reorganization marks another step in the
solidification of the Democratic party under Jackson s un
disputed leadership. The Maysville veto was the first step,
and but one more now remained the United States Bank
veto which will be noticed in a later chapter. This in
crease in the party s solidarity was reflected in the fall elec
tions which so effectively sustained the administration that
for the time being Calhoun s insurgent faction of the party
almost disappeared, even in Virginia. 70 This result con
vinced the South Carolinian and his friends of the futility
of attacking the administration and hence their efforts for
some months to come were directed mainly against Van
Buren as a vice-presidential possibility.
Van Buren s apparent self-abnegation had raised him
still higher in Jackson s estimation. He sailed for London
in August, 1 83 1, 71 but still remained in close and direct com-
70 John Campbell to Van Buren, October 4, 1831, Van Buren
MSS. ; Clay, Correspondence, pp. 322-323.
71 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 445.
THE DEMOCRATS 9!
munication with the President. He was not widely pop
ular in the country, however, and not generally as well
known as Calhoun. His reputation as a political manager,
wire-worker and manipulator caused him to be widely dis
liked in Pennsylvania even among Jacksonians, 72 and so
great was suspicion of him in Virginia that only his resig
nation from the cabinet had prevented the Calhoun faction
from getting control of that State. 73 From Jackson s let
ters to him during the last half of 1831, it appears plainly
that the President had fixed on Van Buren as his successor
and had even considered resigning in the latter s favor if
successfully reelected in 1832, provided the national debt
and the Bank could be settled previously. 74 While these let
ters show that Jackson preferred Van Buren for vice-pres
ident, 75 he seems to have been neither confident of, nor de
termined upon, the gratification of this preference. 76 In
deed Van Buren s chances for the succession by way of the
vice-presidency were far from good at this time. He had left
the country without apprising his friends of any definite
desire for the second office of the government. 77 and even
the Richmond Junto was not inclined to favor him for it. 78
In addition to this, there were several other candidates in the
field, all standing high in their respective States and in the
party s councils, namely, Mahlon Dickerson of New Jersey,
Philip Barbour of Virginia, William Wilkins and G. M. Dal
las of Pennsylvania, Samuel Smith of Maryland and Rich
ard M. Johnson of Kentucky. 79
72 "A Friend" to Van Buren, March 25, 1831, containing circu
lar to the Democrats in Pennsylvania, Van Buren MSS.
73 Archer to Van Buren, March 12, October 3, 1831, Van Buren
74 Jackson to Van Buren, August 8, September 5, 18, 1831, Van
75 Cf. Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 506.
78 Jackson to Van Buren, December 17, 1831, Van Buren MSS.
77 J. W. Webb to Van Buren, December 31, 1831 ; Jackson to Van
Buren, December 6, 1831, Van Buren MSS.
78 Ritchie to Van Buren, April 30, 1831, Van Buren MSS.
79 Webb to Van Buren, December 31, 1831 ; Walter Lowrie to
Van Buren, January 27, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
92 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
Van Buren was not out of touch with the situation as his
letters to Jackson and to his lieutenants Cambreleng, Marcy
and Hamilton indicate, and his organization in New York
had the situation in that State well in hand. He wrote Jack
son on November n, 1831, referring to the election in 1832,
" The only point in the Union . . . which will require par
ticular attention will be New York. My undivided atten
tion will be directed to it ... and it shall go hard, if we do
not direct it to a safe and glorious result/ 80 His most
trusted lieutenant, a politician little inferior to himself, with
whom he was in closest communication and most of whose
letters he destroyed after reading, 81 was Churchill C. Cam
breleng, Congressman from New York City. His care of
Van Buren s interests and his political insight appear clearly
from the following:
Some of your best friends . . . wish most sincerely, and I am
among the number, that the senate would reject you! I know you
will be annoyed at such a result but it s the only thing that can
remedy your error in going abroad it s the only thing that can
prevent the election in 1836 from going to the House. . . . Some
thing striking something to unite the party on a successor is abso
lutely necessary. ... If you could but be rejected you would re
turn in triumph we should have . . . the King, commons, and
people against the Lords You would be identified with the party
and without a competitor . . . but they are too cunning to do you
such a service. ... I say again I wish they would. 82
This very thing needed to unite the Democratic party on
a vice-president as well as presumptive successor to Jackson
occurred on January 25, 1832. Calhoun, smarting under
past defeats, took the lead in joining forces with Clay and
Webster in the Senate and defeated Van Buren s nomination
as minister to England by one vote. 83 The whole proceed
ing was arranged so as to give Calhoun the pleasure of neg
ativing what he fondly believed to be his rival s political
80 Van Buren to Jackson, October n, 1831, Van Buren MSS.
81 Van Buren to Cambreleng, October 14, 1831, Van Buren MSS.
82 Cambreleng to Van Buren, January 4, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
83 Marcy to Van Buren, January 26, 1832, Van Buren MSS. ; Van
Buren, Autobiography, pp. 512, 520.
prospects as well as present occupation. The ostensible
cause for this action was the instructions which Van Buren
as Secretary of State had given to McLane to govern him
in negotiating with England for opening the West Indies to
American trade. The charges alleged were that these in
structions lowered the dignity of the United States as a
nation. There was nothing in them, and the country speedily
recognized the action of the Senate as a political maneuver. 84
Calhoun was delighted ; he is alleged to have said on the
occasion, " It will kill him, sir, kill him dead. He will never
kick, sir, never kick." 85 No less pleased were Benton and
other friends of Van Buren. The former said immediately
the vote was announced, " You have broken a minister and
elected a Vice-President," 86 and also, "I am now for Van
Buren for Vice-President first and then I am for Van Buren
for President." 8T Jackson on hearing the news flew into a
towering rage and used language neither mild nor compli
mentary to the Senate. 88 Aside from his fondness for Van
Buren, he regarded the rejection as a direct insult to him
self, 89 and immediately began active steps looking to Van
Buren s nomination at the Baltimore Convention in May. 90
In this course he had the cordial concurrence of the party
No greater or more foolish political blunder was ever
made by Calhoun. The results of the rejection did for Van
Buren the one thing above all others likely to benefit him
most at Calhoun s expense. The result of this political per-
84 Benton, Thirty Years View, vol. i, pp. 214-219; Van Buren,
Autobiography, pp. 454-456, 510-513, 520-527.
85 Benton, Thirty Years View, vol. i, p. 219.
86 Ibid., p. 215.
87 Lowrie to Van Buren, January 27, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
89 Jackson to John Randolph, March 3, 1832, Jackson MSS.; A.
J. Donelson to John Coffee, January 26, 1832, Donelson MSS.
90 Jackson to Felix Grundy, February 4, 1832, Jackson MSS.;
Richards to McLean, January 16, 1832, McLean MSS.
91 John Forsyth to Van Buren, January 28, 1832; Elijah Hay-
ward to Van Buren, January 30, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
94 TH E PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
secution upon the party at large was immediate. Richard
M. Johnson of Kentucky, probably the leading candidate
for vice-president, at once announced his withdrawal in Van
Buren s favor. 92 In New York it produced a veritable fer
ment. 93 Resolutions of sympathy were sent to Van Buren,
and the legislature voted resolutions of confidence in Van
Buren and the administration, and of censure for Calhoun. 9 *
In Pennsylvania, where Van Buren was least popular, a
temporary reaction in his favor resulted. 95 In Virginia, so
strong was the dislike of persecution, that sentiment swung
strongly to Van Buren and the Junto at once began to uti
lize it. 96 From Jackson s friends in Tennessee and Alabama
came news of Van Buren s rise in popular estimation and
pledges of support for him. 97 In short, as Cambreleng wrote
Van Buren, "the rejection . . . has made you twice as
strong as you ever were at home and has made a party for
you throughout the union." 98
Van Buren was much surprised at his enemies blunder.
His political future was assured and it only remained for
him to avoid mistakes. So careful was he that he did not
even wish to appear to exploit the sentiment in his favor at
home, and so took care not to arrive there until after the
party convention at Baltimore. 99 He contented himself with
a trip to the continent and with a letter to his friends author
izing the use of his name for vice-president. 100
92 Blair to Van Buren, January 28, 1832, Van Buren MSS. ; J. W.
Webb to Nicholas Biddle, February 5, 1832, Biddle MSS.
93 Hamilton to Van Buren, February i, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
94 In Van Buren MSS. dated January 31, and February 3, 1832.
95 Simpson to McLean, February 2, 8, 1832, McLean MSS.
96 Richard E, Parker to John Campbell, February 3, September
5, 1832 ; Andrew Stevenson to Ritchie, February 4, 1832, Van Buren
97 William Carroll to Jackson, February 7, 1832 ; John Coffee to
Jackson, February 24, 1832; Eaton to Jackson, March 22, 1832,
98 Cambreleng to Van Buren, February 4, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
"Van Buren to John Van Buren, February 23, 1832, Van Buren
100 Van Buren to Marcy, March 14, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
THE DEMOCRATS 95
Calhoun and his followers speedily realized their blunder
and set to work to counteract it. There was no hope of
defeating Jackson, hence they made a virtue of necessity
and professed to support him. At the same time they con
centrated their efforts on the vice-presidential contest, hop
ing either to defeat Van Buren in the convention, or if that
failed, to place another candidate in the field, intending by
thus splitting the party s vote to prevent Van Buren from
gaining an electoral majority, and so to relegate his chances
of election to the tender mercies of the Senate. 101 Accord
ingly they insisted that as Jackson was not opposed to the
tariff, it was only fair that Southern interests should be
safe-guarded by the selection of an anti-tariff Southerner
for second place on the party s ticket, and centered their
efforts in Virginia, South Carolina and Alabama to procure
the election of delegates who would support Philip P. Bar-
bour of Virginia at Baltimore. 102 Their preference for Bar-
bour was due to his States Rights views, to his popularity in
Virginia, to the fact that he was still in the administration s
good graces, 103 to his liking for Calhoun, and also to the
fact that the latter, now serving his second vice-presidential
term, would not be favorably regarded for a third. 104
Although Calhoun was now powerless in Pennsylvania,
there was hope that that State would utterly refuse Van
Buren, whom it associated with New York s political dom
ination. The hope was well founded. Van Buren s enemies
in the State were nearly as numerous as Jackson s admirers.
Therefore, when on June 25, 183 1, 105 the New Hampshire
legislature recommended the Democratic convention of 1832
at Baltimore for the nomination of a vice-president, the
101 Stevenson to Ritchie, February 4, 1832 ; F. P. Blair to Van
Buren, January 28, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
102 Blair to Van Buren, January 28, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
103 Lewis to Van Buren, April 22, 1859, in Van Buren, Autobi
ography, p. 584.
104 The Globe, July 6, 1831, reprint from New Hampshire Patriot.
105 The Globe, July 6, 1831.
96 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
Pennsylvania Democrats feared that this had been engi
neered in Van Buren s interests, and bestirred themselves.
Local meetings were held endorsing either Wilkins or Dal
las, their Senators, for vice-presidential nominee with Jack
son. 106 These meetings culminated in a state convention at
Harrisburg, March 5, 1832. Its object was to nominate a
vice-presidential candidate and so to forestall the Baltimore
convention, or at least to influence its course. 107
This Harrisburg convention was thoroughly representa
tive of opinion in the State, and its delegates had been chosen
in the same way as in 1824 and 1828; in addition most of
them had been instructed for Wilkins or for Dallas. So
close was the contest between these two for nomination on
the ticket with Jackson, that, although the latter was almost
unanimously supported for president, ten ballots were taken
before Wilkins was chosen. Van Buren did not receive
above four votes at any stage of the proceedings. To make
assurance doubly sure against him, the convention then
pledged its electoral ticket to vote for Dallas should Wilkins
die before the election. 108
The call for the Baltimore convention originated with the
" Kitchen Cabinet," and as far as can be determined, though
this body was friendly to Van Buren, its action was dictated
rather by desire for party unity and harmony than by any
design to force him upon the party as vice-president. With
Calhoun openly eliminated by the spring of 1831, it required
no gift of prophecy to tell that there would be many as
pirants in the Democratic field for vice-presidential honors,
hence the " Kitchen Cabinet " now the directing power,
under Jackson, of the party s politics took the matter in
hand. Lewis wrote to Kendall, who at the time May 25,
1831 was visiting Isaac Hill, Senator-elect and political
leader of New Hampshire. The letter gave the opinion of
io Ibid., July 14, 1831.
107 Richards to McLean, March 17, 1832, McLean MSS.
108 The Globe, March 8, 9, 1832; Niles Register, vol. xlii, pp.
THE DEMOCRATS 97
the party leaders in Washington that it was then too early
to bring out a vice-presidential candidate, mentioned Bar-
bour and Dickerson as already in the field, and suggested
as the best means of uniting the party opinion on one man,
that a national convention be held in May, 1832, and that
such a step proposed by the New Hampshire legislature
would probably be concurred in by other States. It urged
Kendall to consider it and, if advisable, to suggest this step
to Hill. 109 In this letter Lewis merely took a leaf from the
enemies books, since it was then generally known that both
Antimasons and National Republicans had fixed dates in
1831 for similar conventions, also at Baltimore. 110
Kendall and Hill found Lewis suggestion good and acted
accordingly. 111 Less than a month later a Democratic caucus
of the New Hampshire legislature recommended, " to their
republican brethren in other states, friendly to the reelection
of Andrew Jackson, to elect delegates equal to the number of
Electors of President in each state, to attend a general con
vention to be holden at Baltimore ... on the third Mon
day of May, 1832 ; which convention shall have for its ob
ject the adoption of such measures as will best promote the
reelection of Andrew Jackson, and the nomination of a
candidate to be supported as Vice-President at the same elec
tion." 112 This The Globe approved and recommended to
the party throughout the country. It was endorsed by a
public meeting at Philadelphia July n, lls and subsequently
in various States. Between this time and the end of March,
1832, every State in the union except Virginia and Pennsyl
vania had appointed delegates. 114
The method of appointing delegates varied in different
States. In New Hampshire they were appointed by legis-
109 Lewis to Kendall, May 25, 1831, in Parton, Life of Jackson,
vol. iii, pp. 282-283. See also Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 584.
110 Niles Register, vol. xxxix, pp. 58, 91. Ibid.
111 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 584.
112 The Globe, July 6, 1831, reprint from the New Hampshire
118 Ibid, July 19, 1831.
114 Ibid., January 3, 23, March 20, 22, 1832.
98 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
lative caucus. 115 In North Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio
they were appointed by state conventions. 116 In Virginia the
choice was made by local meetings of city and county. 117 In
Pennsylvania the bulk of the party, having made its vice-
presidential nomination, would not appoint delegates to Bal
timore; hence only a dozen self-appointed individuals, like
Simon Cameron and George Kremer, attended in the capacity
of delegates, 118 and there were few leaders from that State
at the convention. From other States party managers were
out in force, Hill from New Hampshire, Overton and Eaton
from Tennessee, Lucas from Ohio, Poinsett from South
Carolina and several of both Regency and Junto. 119
In a few of the States, there was something closely akin
to instructed delegations. Thus in New Jersey where the
delegates were chosen by legislative caucus, they were " re
quested " to urge Mahlon Dickerson upon the convention for
vice-president. 120 In Alabama, where the Calhoun element
had made strenuous efforts, the legislature instructed the
delegates to vote for Barbour. 121 In Kentucky the state con
vention instructed its delegates to vote for Richard M. John
As to the size of delegations, the recommendation of the
New Hampshire caucus, in initiating the convention move
ment, that each delegation should be equal to its State s quota
in the electoral college, was strictly adhered to by about
half of the States. 123 In the other half, some States sent
less and some more than this ratio. Conspicuous among the
" 5 Ibid., July 6, 1831.
118 Ibid., January 3, 23, March 20, 1832.
117 Richmond Enquirer, March 17, 20, 23, 1832.
"8 The Globe, May 29, 1832.
120 Ibid., March 20, 1832.
121 F. P. Blair to Van Buren, January 28, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
122 The Globe, January 3, 1832.
123 Ibid., May 29, 1832, list of delegates by States. Summary of
the Proceedings of Convention of Republican Delegates held at
Baltimore, May, 1832, History Pamphlets, vol. 293, Johns Hopkins
latter were Virginia and New Jersey, whose delegates num
bered 94 and 52 respectively. In every case, in the choice of
delegates there was a general recognition of the fact that
their sole functions were the nomination of a vice-president
and the promotion of the ticket s success. Jackson s nom
ination was everywhere regarded as a fait accompli.
The Virginia situation needs some explanation. The
leaders of the Junto desired to line up the State for Van
Buren in spite of the formidable opposition supporting Bar-
bour. In February, 1832, a state convention was called
under Junto auspices. There was no difficulty in securing
an endorsement of Jackson, but the fight over Van Buren
was hotly contested and the Junto forces, seeing that the
opposition was too strong, forced an adjournment. 124 A
fortnight later a legislative caucus likewise failed to agree to
support Van Buren and voted three to one against making
any vice-presidential nomination. It also voted to leave the
selection of delegates to Baltimore to the people. 126 The
cities and counties therefore each chose delegates in numbers
varying from one in the less important counties to half a
dozen from the city and county of Richmond. 128
Such were the origin and sources of " the Baltimore Dem
ocratic Republican Convention, appointed to nominate a can
didate for Vice- President," 127 which assembled at the
Athenaeum May 21, 1832. The total number of delegates
was 334, 128 from every State except Missouri, whose dele
gates did not appear, and the average attendance was about
The first day and a half was devoted to organization.
Frederick A. Sumner of New Hampshire called the meeting
to order and stated its objects as the harmonious choice of
a vice-presidential candidate and the promotion of success
at the coming election. After the election of temporary
124 Ibid., March 20, 1832 ; Richmond Enquirer, March 17, 1832.
125 Richmond Enquirer, March 17, 20, 23, 1832.
126 The Globe, May i, 29, 1832.
127 Ibid., May i, 1832.
128 Ibid., May 29, 1832 ; Proceedings of the Convention.
IOO THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
officers, a committee of one from each State was appointed
to report to the convention a list of the delegates in attend
ance, a function closely analogous to that of the present-day
Credentials Committee. Following its report came a roll-
call of the delegates by States. 129
These preliminaries accomplished, the convention author
ized each state delegation to appoint one member of a com
mittee whose duties would be to select permanent officers
and to prepare rules for the government of the convention.
Here we have the identical functions of the modern Com
mittee on Permanent Organization and of that on Rules,
vested in one committee. This committee was the main
spring of the convention, and the results of its labors are still
in force today. The meeting then adjourned until next
morning Tuesday the 22nd. 130
On the convention being called to order next day, the
organization-and-rules committee, with William R. King of
Alabama as chairman, reported. It recommended General
Robert Lucas, the chairman pro tempore, for the permanent
position, four vice-presidents of whom Daniel of the Rich
mond Junto was the first and three secretaries. Lucas
was then installed, and made a brief acknowledgment. This
completed the convention s organization. 131
The committee then reported the rules. First and most
important of these was, "Resolved, That each state be en
titled, in the nomination to be made of the candidate for the
vice-presidency, to a number of votes equal to the number to
which they will be entitled in the electoral colleges . . . and
that two-thirds of the whole number of the votes in the
convention shall be necessary to constitute a choice." 132
129 Ibid., May 23, 1832 ; Baltimore American, May 22, 1832 ; Pro
ceedings of the Convention.
130 The Globe, May 23, 1832 ; Baltimore American, May 22, 1832.
The Convention met on the 22nd and subsequently in the Univer-
salist Church, then on St. Paul Street just above Saratoga Street,
because the meeting was too large for the Athenaeum s capacity.
181 The Baltimore American, May 23, 1832; The Globe, May 24,
1832; Proceedings of the Convention.
THE DEMOCRATS IOI
King prefaced this resolution with a few remarks to the
effect that the committee believed this to be the fairest ap
portionment of nominating votes. The two-thirds majority
for nomination, he said, was desirable because a selection
predicated upon it would indicate a more general concur
rence of opinion, carry greater moral weight and be more
favorably received by the country than one supported by a
simple majority. Another important reason for its adoption
was the presence of delegates from many States which
would certainly vote against Jackson in the election. 133
There was some opposition and a motion was made to strike
out the two-thirds clause ; it failed to pass, however, and the
rule was adopted unchanged, as it has remained ever since. 134
The committee s next recommendation was almost equally
important in convention history. It was " That in taking the
vote, the majority of the delegates from each state designate
the person by whom the votes for that state shall be cast,"
and that " in voting on the nomination for vice-president,
the authorized person shall designate the name of the per
son to be voted for by the delegates from that state." 136
This was the first precedent for, and practice of, the Unit
Rule. Its adoption was occasioned by two circumstances ;
first, the size of several delegations in proportion to the num
ber of votes they were entitled to cast, and, second, certain
state delegations were either instructed or expected by their
constituents to vote for a particular candidate. 136 This rule,
though adopted, was not rigidly enforced by this conven-
133 Richmond Enquirer, May 29, 1832.
134 Baltimore American, May 23, 1832; The Globe, May 24, 1832.
In the Democratic Convention of 1836, and again in that of 1844,
attempts were made to replace the " two-thirds " rule by a simple
majority in making nominations. Both attempts failed. The de
cisive action of the convention of 1844 in refusing to replace the
"two-thirds" rule by a simple majority resulted in the defeat of
Van Buren for the nomination, and permanently established the
"two-thirds" rule in Democratic convention practice (Edward
Stanwood, History of Presidential Elections, pp. 116, 146-148.)
135 The Globe, May 24, 1832.
139 Richmond Enquirer, February 28, May 29, 1832; The Globe,
May 29, 1832.
IO2 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
tion ; some delegations, like that of Kentucky, observed it ;
others, notably Alabama, did not. 137
The afternoon session this day brought the nomination.
There were no nominating speeches. 138 The first ballot was
the only one taken. On it Van Buren received 208 votes,
about 40 more than the necessary two-thirds. Barbour re
ceived all those of Virginia and South Carolina, six each
from North Carolina and Alabama and three from Mary
land, a total of 49. Johnson received all those from Ken
tucky and Indiana and two from Illinois. Van Buren had all
the rest and was declared duly nominated. The Virginia dele
gation, following a short recess, announced its concurrence in
the nomination of Van Buren, in which course it was fol
lowed by those of Kentucky, Indiana and Alabama. The
convention, doubtless encouraged by this, then adopted a
resolution expressing its unanimous concurrence in recom
mending Van Buren to the country for the office of vice-
president. This was followed by another resolution en
dorsing Jackson s character in highest terms and concurring
in the various state nominations for president which he had
received. This was the sole reference made to him during
the convention. The president and vice-presidents were then
appointed as a committee to notify Van Buren of his nom
ination, which they did at once by letter addressed to him
at New York 139 since he had not yet returned from
Europe. On recommendation from the organization-and-
rules committee, a committee was then appointed to draft
the usual address to the nation and the meeting adjourned
to the next morning. 140
At the session of Wednesday morning the address com
mittee urged that in place of a general address to the people
" it be recommended to the delegates to make such a report
or address to their constituents as they might think proper."
137 Baltimore American, May 23, 1832; The Globe, May 24, 1832.
139 Letter is dated May 22, 1832, in Van Buren MSS.
140 Baltimore American, May 23, 1832 ; The Globe, May 24, 1832.
THE DEMOCRATS IO3
This effective substitute for the usual address issued by polit
ical meetings of that day, was adopted and nothing re
sembling a platform issued from this convention. 141
The final business was the establishment of an effective
campaign organization. This was done by authorizing each
delegation to appoint a general correspondence committee
for its State, and by the designation by the chairman of the
convention of a general central committee to reside in the
District of Columbia. Following this the usual votes of
thanks to the meeting s officers were passed, and after re
solving to wait upon Charles Carroll of Carrollton imme
diately thereafter, the convention adjourned sine die. 142
One other transaction deserves notice. Sumner of New
Hampshire, in his remarks at the initial session of the con
vention, in stating the motives which led his state legislature
to call for a national convention, said that prominent among
them was the desire to establish thus a precedent for future
elections as a means of securing party harmony in making
nominations. 143 Shortly before the convention adjourned,
Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania offered a resolution to se
cure in future the convention mode of nominating candi
dates : " Resolved, That it is expedient and it is hereby
recommended that such selections should be made by na
tional conventions, composed of delegates to be selected by
the democratic party of each state equal in number to the
representatives of such state in ... Congress ... to as
semble in the city of Baltimore the third Monday in May
in every fourth year hereafter." 144 Some discussion arose
and the resolution was withdrawn. The importance of the
above speech and resolution lies in the fact that both clearly
indicate, as was the case with the Antimasons, a recognition
by the party of the need for larger, more far-reaching and
better coordinated party machinery to effect presidential
141 Ibid., May 24, 1832 ; Ibid., May 25, 1832.
143 The Globe, May 23, 1832.
144 Baltimore American, May 24, 1832.
IO4 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
nominations and to promote the ticket s success. They fur
ther indicate a consciousness that the national nominating
convention was best fitted to meet this need. Although
Cameron withdrew his resolution, it is interesting to note
that down to 1852, every subsequent Democratic convention
was held in Baltimore, every one met in the presidential
year in the month of May, and, excepting that of 1840,
every one met on the third Monday of that month. 145
The Democratic convention was in many respects the
most important of the three held during this campaign, even
though its object was only a vice-presidential nomination. In
the first place it was larger than either of the others, both
numerically and in the number of States represented. In the
second place, representing a well-organized party, it sprang
from a more definite party need, namely, the necessity for a
harmonious selection from several vice-presidential aspirants,
and was therefore less of an electioneering, propagandic
measure than either of the others ; hence it was most nearly
of them all the true prototype of the nominating convention
145 Stanwood, History of Presidential Elections, pp. 115, 129, 145,
THE INJECTION OF THE BANK INTO THE CAMPAIGN
From a region where the banks were few, their operations
of the " wildcat " variety, their paper money of dubious value,
and their failures frequent, Andrew Jackson voiced his opinion
of them when he said " I hate ragg, tagg banks and empty
pockets." 1 From this it would appear that he regarded the
paper money of banks and a deflated purse as cause and
effect respectively, and specie as the only safe medium of
exchange. Moreover he had been of this opinion ever since
he had read of the South Sea Bubble. 2 More specific than
this, he had opposed the founding of a branch of the United
States Bank at Nashville, i8i7-i8i8, 3 had expressed hos
tility to it in 1827,* and had been near introducing a passage
against the parent Bank in his inaugural address. 6 Thus
Jackson entered the presidency with a definite bias against
the Bank as a financial institution. He further regarded it
as unauthorized by the Constitution, 6 and at once began con
sidering a substitute for it, and as early as May 2, 1829,
wrote to Felix Grundy asking his views on the subject. 7
About the same time Nicholas Biddle, the able and auto
cratic president of the Bank, was desirous of winning Jack
son s approval for that institution. He hoped to attain this
1 Jackson to A. J. Donelson, August 19, 1820, Donelson MSS.
2 Memorandum in Biddle s hand of a conversation with Jackson in
November, 1829, Nicholas Biddle MSS.
3 Bassett, Life of Andrew Jackson, vol. ii, p. 589; Catterall, The
Second Bank of the United States, p. 183.
4 Hamilton, Reminiscences, p. 69.
5 Bassett, Life of Jackson, vol. ii, pp. 429-430; Catterall, p. 183.
9 Biddle s memorandum of conversation with Jackson, November,
1829, Biddle MSS.
7 Felix Grundy to Jackson, May 22, 1829, Jackson MSS.
106 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
object by offers to hand over to the Jacksonians the control
of the Nashville branch and by convincing the President of
the Bank s utility to the government in Jackson s pet policy.
the payment of the last of the national debt by March 4,
The institution of which Jackson disapproved had been
chartered in 1816, primarily for the purpose of extricating
the country from the financial debacle resulting from the
War of 1812. After six years of struggle it came under
Biddle s direction. Thanks to his able financial policy and
careful attention to its affairs, the Bank soon thereafter
began to prosper and by 1829 was entirely sound and flour
ishing, with its stock worth I22. 9 Of its capital of
$35,000,000, one-fifth was subscribed by the United States,
which likewise appointed one-fifth of the governing board
of twenty-five directors, the remainder being chosen by the
private stockholders. It was authorized by its charter to
issue notes without restriction, provided it could redeem
them in specie when presented or else pay interest on them
at 12 per cent. These notes were receivable for government
dues, a privilege accorded the notes of state banks only when
they were redeemed in specie. In addition, the Bank en
joyed the use of the government s deposits without paying
interest, but the Secretary of the Treasury could remove
these at will provided he at once stated to Congress the rea
sons for so doing. Another power of great importance
enabled the parent Bank at Philadelphia to establish branch
offices of discount and deposit wherever it saw favorable
openings. These branches were to be administered and gov
erned by officers chosen by the central board of directors. 10
In 1829 the Bank had twenty- four branches, one or more
8 Thomas Cadwalader to Jackson, October 15, 1828, Jackson
MSS.; William B. Lewis to Biddle, June 28, 1829, Biddle MSS.;
Biddle to Asbury Dickins, May 19, 1829, Biddle s Letter Book among
9 Niles Register, vol. xxxvii, p. 359.
10 Charter in United States Statutes at Large, vol. iii, pp. 266-277.
INJECTION OF THE BANK INTO THE CAMPAIGN IO7
in every State except Delaware, Indiana and Illinois. 11 This
widespread, highly centralized banking system was all-power
ful in the country s banking operations. Its size and charter
privileges gave it power over all state banks, no combination
of which could hope to combat it successfully. By pre
senting for payment the quantities of state bank notes it
received, it forced the latter to maintain reserves of coin
adequate to support their note issues, and in this lay its
chief advantage to the country.
At the close of 1829, more than one-fourth of its
$28,000,000 of privately owned stock was in the hands of
three hundred and eighty-three foreigners who had little
influence in determining its policy. Of the remaining
$20,800,000 in privately owned shares, over $16,000,000, or
more than half the total amount of stock not owned by the
United States government, was in the hands of a group of
moneyed individuals, only eight hundred and twenty-two
in number. None of these held less than $5,000 worth of
stock, and more than half of them held $10,000 worth or
more per capita. This group, if it so chose, had sufficient
votes to control a decided majority of the twenty directors
elected by the private stock holders. The remaining 2,780
American private stock holders held only a little more than
$3,000,000 worth of shares. 12
This centralization of financial power in the hands of a
few, the size and strength of the Bank, its authority to ex
tend its branches wherever it saw opportunity, its power to
issue and control notes proportionate to the needs of the
country s growing business, all together rendered it strongly
monopolistic in character, beneficial to the nation, it is true,
but with dangerous potentialities in the direction of cen
tralization at local and state expense.
Owing to its power over their note issues, if for no other
reason, the Bank was always disliked by the local state in-
11 Catterall, Second Bank, p. 376.
12 These facts are drawn from statement in Biddle s Letter Book,
December 26, 1829.
IO8 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
stitutions. Since these latter were usually closely con
nected with local politics there was always opposition to the
federal bank, particularly in the South and West. The
growth of this opposition in the West was fostered greatly
by the Bank s incidental profits from sales of land left on
its hands as forfeited security resulting from the financial
depression of i8i9. 13 In the South the opposition naturally
centered around the Bank s constitutional side. 14 This op
position to the institution had in the past found vent in at
tempts by the state legislatures to limit or destroy it. Here
the Supreme Court intervened in the cases of McCulloh vs.
Maryland and Osborn vs. The Bank of the United States,
which made the Bank s position invulnerable for the duration
of its charter. Although this status of the Bank had been
generally acquiesced in several years prior to 1829, opposi
tion to it was still latent in the hearts of the democratic
masses of the West and those in the States Rights men of
With Jackson s accession, his democratic followers were
not long in raising complaints against the Bank. These
took the form of charges that in the late presidential con
test the branches in Kentucky, 15 New Orleans, 16 and Ports
mouth, New Hampshire, 17 had extended facilities to the
supporters of Adams which had been denied to those of
Jackson. The charges against the last of these involved
Biddle in a correspondence with Ingham of the Treasury in
the course of which Biddle practically informed the latter,
on September 15, 1829, that it was none of the administra
tion s business to enquire into the political opinions of the
Bank s officers. This letter of Biddle s stirred Jackson s
13 Benton, Abridgment of the Debates of Congress, vol. xi, p.
153; Bassett, Life of Jackson, vol. ii, p. 686.
14 Judge John Catron to Donelson, December 31, 1829, Donelson
MSS. ; Niles Register, vol. xxxvii, pp. 275, 367.
15 McLean to Biddle, January 5, 1829, McLean MSS.
16 M. L. Bevan to Biddle, October 21, 1829; Samuel Jaudon to
Biddle, October 21, 1829, Biddle MSS.
17 22nd Cong., ist sess., House Report No. 460, pp. 439-440.
INJECTION OF THE BANK INTO THE CAMPAIGN IQQ
antagonism. Among the latter s papers is an undated one
in his own hand, headed " Extract from P. of the Bank."
Immediately below this are copied the very lines of Riddle s
letter of September 15, in which the latter had informed
Ingham that the Bank directors "acknowledge not the
slightest responsibility of any description whatsoever to the
Secretary of the Treasury touching the political opinions
and conduct of their officers, that being a subject on which
they . . . never desire to know the views of any administra
tion." Immediately below these lines is written in Jack
son s hand, " The Secretary must note ; & reply to that part
of the P. ... and relieve the executive from any inter
ference with the Bank; but remark, he reserves his consti
tutional powers to be exercised through Congress, to redress
all grievances complained of by the people of the interfer
ence by the Branches with the local elections of the states,
& all interference with party politicks, in every section of
our country, where those complaints have reached the
Executive." 18 Ingham replied in this tenor and at great
length on October 5. 19
Biddle sensed danger from the tone of Ingham s reply and
renewed his efforts to gain the Executive s good will. He
industriously investigated the charges against the branches
of partiality and brought the results to Jackson s notice. 20
He kept in close touch with Lewis of the " Kitchen Cab
inet " and consulted him about appointing friends of the ad
ministration to the directorates of various western and south
western branches. 21 He advanced a plan whereby the ad
ministration might pay the last of the national debt on the
anniversary of the battle of New Orleans in i833. 22 He
18 Undated memorandum in Jackson s hand, Jackson MSS., vol.
19 Ingham-Biddle correspondence contained in 22nd Cong., 1st
sess., H. Rept. No. 460, pp. 456-468; see especially pp. 460, 462, 466.
20 Bevan to Biddle, October 21, 1829; Jaudon to Biddle, October
21, 1829, Biddle MSS.
21 Biddle to Lewis, November 29, 1829 to May 8, 1830, in Biddle
22 Ibid., November 15, 1829.
HO THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
went to Washington about November 19, and conferred
with Jackson in person. 23 In this interview Jackson ex
pressed plainly his suspicion of all banks, that he believed
Biddle s to be unconstitutional despite Marshall s opinion to
the contrary, that he had every reason to be satisfied with
the president and parent board of directors, and concluded
by mentioning that he would mention the Bank s services
in paying off the latest installment of the national debt in
his approaching message to Congress. 24 Biddle, over prone
to optimism, in which he was unduly encouraged by Lewis, 25
took this last remark of the President s to mean that he
would speak in high terms of the Bank s value to the
Mistaking thus Jackson s frank, courteous attitude toward
him for approval of the Bank, Biddle and the institution s
friends were vastly surprised and somewhat alarmed when
the President, having mentioned the Bank s services in his
message as he had said he would do, came out fairly and
squarely against a renewal of the institution s charter on
the ground that it was unconstitutional, inexpedient and had
failed in " establishing a uniform and sound currency." He
mentioned as a substitute for the present Bank one purely
national in character, founded upon the government and
revenues, but gave no details. 27 Biddle was so far from
understanding Jackson s tenacity of purpose and party con
trol that he regarded this part of the message as " an opin
ion of the President alone ... a personal measure," and
therefore far less dangerous than if it had been a cabinet
or a party measure. 28
23 Biddle to General Sam Smith, January 2, 1830, Letter Book.
24 Memorandum in Biddle s hand of conversation with Jackson,
25 Lewis to Biddle, November 5, 11, 1829, Biddle MSS.
28 Biddle to Sam Smith, January 2, 1830; to Alexander Hamil
ton, December 9, 10, 1829, Letter Book.
27 Richardson, Messages and Papers, vol. ii, pp. 451, 462.
28 Biddle to George Hoffman, December 15, 1829; to Sam Smith,
January 2, 1830, Biddle MSS.
INJECTION OF THE BANK INTO THE CAMPAIGN HI
Biddle was wholly wrong in his belief, as events soon be
gan to demonstrate, that this initial attack was an unsup
ported opinion of the President alone. As soon as the
message reached New York the Bank s stock fell from 125^4
to I2O. 29 On December 15 the South Carolina legislature
began considering a resolution instructing its congressional
delegation to oppose the rechartering of the Bank. 30 The
opinion of the Western democracy on the subject was voiced
by Judge John Catron, Chief Justice of the Tennessee Su
preme Court. He heartily approved of Jackson s attack on
the money monopoly which he declared was contrary to the
interests of " the Southern & Western people," was sapping
" the sound actions of our state governments ... as well as
those of the Fedrl. Govt. by controlling the elective fran
chise by the use of money." He added further that the
preventing of rechartering it " must be, the rallying point of
party; a warfare in which there can be no neutrality. . . .
From the day Jackson was elected ... I have believed this
question, would here, & in Kentucky, destroy Mr. Clay s
power if fully raised. . . . The message has settled the
question." 31 To the same effect wrote also Jackson s
friend and neighbor, Alfred Balch. 32
Jackson s assertion that the Bank had failed in establish
ing a sound currency Biddle regarded as the most damag
ing. The latter therefore suggested to Sam Smith, Chair
man of the Senate s finance committee, a friend of the Bank,
that the best means of correcting this would be " for some
Committee of Congress to negative the assumption that the
currency is unsound." 33 That part of the message relative
to the Bank had been referred in the House of Repre
sentatives to the Ways and Means Committee, of which
George McDuffie, Calhoun s friend, was chairman. Know-
29 Niles Register, vol. xxxvii, p. 275.
30 Ibid., pp. 275, 367.
31 John Catron to Donelson, December 31, 1829, Donelson MSS.
32 Alfred Balch to Jackson, January 7, 1830, Jackson MSS.
33 Biddle to Sam Smith, January 2, 1830, Letter Book.
112 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
ing this, Biddle wrote Joseph Hemphill, a Philadelphia
Congressman, suggesting that this committee in its report
on the message should negative the President s assertion,
and promised to supply the committee with all the informa
tion necessary for the purpose. 34 Not content with this,
he wrote to Daniel Webster, his attorney, friend and ally in
the Senate, " I wish you could give a gentle impulse to the
Committee of Ways & Means." 35 Furthermore, in reply to
Senator Smith s request for information as to the currency,
Biddle not only supplied it but drafted and sent an outline
for the Senate committee s report on the subject. 36 The
president of the Bank here embarked on a policy which
would irretrievably prevent friendly relations between the
President and the institution, even had Jackson had nothing
else against it, and which set at naught all Biddle s dis
claimers that the Bank did not and must not dabble in pol
itics. On March 29, and April 13, 1830, the Senate Finance
and House Ways and Means Committees rendered their
respective reports to Congress. As to the national cur
rency, Senator Smith s committee reported it to be thor
oughly and entirely sound and appended some replies of
Biddle s to questions on the subject of the Bank s operations
and services. 37 McDuffie s committee, reporting specifically
on the part of Jackson s message relative to the Bank, stated
that it was constitutional, was necessary to the point of being
indispensable, had " furnished a currency more uniform than
specie " and ended by pronouncing the substitute suggested
by the President wholly undesirable. 38
The Bank s friends were overjoyed. Biddle had thou
sands of copies of these two reports printed both in news
papers and in pamphlet form. These he sent to his branches
34 Biddle to Joseph Hemphill, December 13, 14, 18, 1829, Letter
35 Biddle to Webster, February 3, 1830, Letter Book.
w Biddle to Sam Smith, January 18, 25, 1830, Letter Book.
37 Niles Register, vol. xxxviii, pp. 126-128.
38 Ibid., pp. 183-196.
INJECTION OF THE BANK INTO THE CAMPAIGN 113
all over the country with instructions to circulate them
widely. 39 He also paid John Norvall, a Philadelphia hack
writer, publisher and politician, $200 for an article analyzing
McDuffie s report. 40 His object in thus circulating propa
ganda was " so that it will be read as widely as the Presi
dent s message of which it is a natural . . . antidote."* 1
Had he known that Jackson was provoked at the reports,
especially McDuffie s, believed the Bank responsible for in
fluencing Congress to produce them and regarded the insti
tution therefore as a " hydra of corruption so dangerous to
our liberties," 42 Biddle might have been more cautious.
Having scattered this propaganda far and wide, 43 Biddle
became very properly uneasy as to how Jackson might take
it. He was not at all reassured by a rumor which reached
him to the effect that Jackson had said that he would veto
a bill for recharter should Congress pass one. He voiced
this uneasiness to Lewis but the latter assured him that it
was unfounded. 44
This rumor was not his only ground for uneasiness. He
had been warned of Van Buren s hostility to the Bank by
Alexander Hamilton, 45 whose brother James was deep in the
counsels of Van Buren and Jackson, and had written the
part of the latter s message aimed against the Bank. 46
Biddle knew from the newspapers that Van Buren had
spent a few days in Richmond, Virginia, purpose unknown. 47
About the 2ist of June, 1830, Biddle received a letter from
Henry Clay written in reply to one from Biddle. Speaking
39 Biddle to Samuel Frothingham, May 27, 1830; to James White,
May 31, 1830; to Sam Smith, April 5, 8, June 26, 1830; to McDuffie,
April 19, May 10, 1830, Letter Book.
40 Biddle to John Norvall, June 13, 1830, Letter Book.
41 Biddle to Sam Smith, April 5, 8, 1830, Letter Book.
42 Hamilton, Reminiscences, pp. 164, 167.
43 Biddle to Sam Smith, April 22, 1830; to Lewis, May 8, 1830;
to Edward Livingston, May 27, 1830, Letter Book.
44 Lewis to Biddle, May 25, 1830, Biddle MSS.
45 Hamilton to Biddle, December 10, 1829, Biddle MSS.
46 Hamilton, Reminiscences, pp. 149, 150.
47 Miles Register, vol. xxxvii, pp. 172-173, 177-
114 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
of the effect of the widespread publication of the congres
sional reports relative to the Bank, Clay said that though
they might do much to avert " the attack meditated on the B.
of the U. S., you must not indulge the belief that it will es
cape assault. Unless I am deceived, by information, re
ceived from one of the most intelligent citizens of Vir
ginia, 48 the plan was laid at Richmond during a recent visit
made to that place by the Sec y of State last autumn, to
make the destruction of the Bank the basis of the next
Presidential election. The message of the President, and
other indications, are the supposed consequences of that
plan." 49 How correct Clay was cannot be definitely de
termined. Van Buren had been in Richmond at the time
named; his political relations with the Junto were close;
Virginia, leader of the strict construction States, was un
favorable to the Bank ; before the date of Van Buren s visit
Jackson was certainly hostile to the institution and at that
time was doubtless drafting his message relative to it. These
circumstances taken collectively indicate a strong degree of
probability that Clay was correct in his information and
Biddle now tried another means of sounding and concil
iating the President. Knowing the latter s impending visit
to the Hermitage, 50 on June 22 he wrote to Josiah Nicholl,
cashier of his branch at Nashville, to take advantage of the
President s visit to remove his errors and honest doubts
regarding the Bank and if possible to discover his attitude
toward recharter. 51 Nicholl was well known to Jackson
and did his best. He tendered the latter apartments at his
Nashville home in which the President stayed for two days.
During this time Nicholl " did not neglect the subject of
your letter I enforced every argument that I could make
48 Most probably Judge Francis Brooke ; cf. Clay to Brooke, May
23, 1830, Clay, Correspondence, pp. 270-271.
* 9 Clay to Biddle, June 14, 1830, Biddle MSS.
50 Niles Register, vol. xxxviii, pp. 290, 327.
61 Biddle to Josiah Nicholl, June 22, 1830, Letter Book.
INJECTION OF THE BANK INTO THE CAMPAIGN 115
bear on the subject or that could be of any service in re
moving his prejudice. ... I have taken considerable pains
and gave him all the information I consistently could on
Banking subjects. ... I am well convinced that he will not
interfere with Congress on the subject of renewing the
Charter of the Bank." He added, however, that the Presi
dent was not very communicative on the subject. 52
Nicholl mistook Jackson completely. Less than a week
after leaving Nicholl s house Jackson wrote to a supporter
in Ohio relative to the Bank "that it should be merely a
national Bank of deposit . . . this is all the kind of a bank
that a republic should have But if to be made a bank of
Discount as well as of deposit I would frame its charter
upon the checks of our govt & attach it to, & make a part
of the revenue, & expose its situation as part annually to
the nation, the profits of which would then accrue to the
whole people, instead of a few monied capitalists, who are
trading upon our revenue, & enjoy the benefits of it, to the
exclusion of the many." 53
Nicholl s letter reassured Biddle as to Jackson s attitude
to such an extent that he began to consider applying for
recharter at the coming session of Congress. 54 Before he
could make a move, however, a long well reasoned letter
from Clay gave him pause. Clay reaffirmed positively his
belief " That a strong party, headed by Mr. Van Buren,
some Virginia politicians, and the Richmond Enquirer, in
tend ... to make the Bank question the basis of the next
presidential election," that applying for recharter at the ap
proaching session of Congress would play into their hands
since they would merely postpone the application until the
long session, 1831-1832, and so make certain of it as a cam
paign issue. Clay further gave it as his opinion that the
Bank should defer application until immediately following
the presidential election. 55
52 Nicholl to Biddle, July 20, 1830, Biddle MSS.
53 Jackson to Moses Dawson, July 17, 1830, Jackson MSS.
54 Biddle to Gallatin, September 9, 1830, Letter Book.
65 Clay to Biddle, September 11, 1830, Biddle MSS.
Il6 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
What Clay s underlying motive was for volunteering this
advice, especially as contrasted with his later course, is not
clear. It may have been disinterested friendship for Biddle
and the Bank ; it may have been that he hoped to defeat Jack
son in 1832 his campaign having been recently launched
and so acquire the credit for himself of rechartering the
Bank. Though Biddle was skeptical as to the purpose of
Van Buren s Richmond trip in the previous November,
Clay s letter seems to have convinced him, for he wrote the
latter some six weeks later concurring in his reasoning as to
the inadvisability of making a move for recharter at that
Continuing his course of innocently offending Jackson,
Biddle had just finished a bargain with Albert Gallatin
whereby the latter was to write an article on banks and cur
rency for which Biddle was to supply the needed informa
tion and to pay $1,000 for the Bank s right to publish, 57
when he was rudely awakened from his belief in Jackson s
changed views by the President s second annual message.
Calmly ignoring the opinion of Congress as voiced through
Smith s and McDuffie s reports, Jackson again called atten
tion to the question of rechartering the Bank, stated that
nothing had occurred to lessen the dangers apprehended
from it, briefly outlined his preferred substitute a strictly
national bank, to be a branch of the Treasury and al
leged, as an appeal to the States, that increased financial
strength would accrue to their local banks as the result of
such a measure. 58
Biddle was awake at last to Jackson s hostility. "We
shall have a great struggle with our worthy President," he
wrote Gallatin, "& altho I have no fear of the result, it
56 Biddle to Clay, November 3, 1830; cf. Biddle to Robert Hunter,
November 3, 1830, Letter Book.
57 Biddle to Gallatin, June 26, December 6 ; to James Robertson,
November 20, 1830, Letter Book.
58 Richardson, Messages and Papers, vol. ii, pp. 528-529.
INJECTION OF THE BANK INTO THE CAMPAIGN 117
will require great caution and vigilance." 59 " The Presi
dent has now sounded the tocsin of alarm to the State Legis
latures. The Bank at this moment is in their hands for
if they choose to issue instructions they will force the mem
bers of Congress to vote against the Bank." He added that
he intended to send literature favorable to the Bank "to
every member of every State Legislature." 80 Nor did the
energetic Bank president expect to stop there. To his Bos
ton publisher he wrote :" It is ... obvious that we shall
have to make an appeal to the reason of the Country from
the passions of its party leaders. Be it so. I have too much
confidence in the sense of my Countrymen to doubt for a
moment the result of that struggle : & our chief difficulty will
be to place within reach of every citizen the materials of
furnishing his own opinion. This shall be done." 61
Here is plainly set forth Biddle s plan of campaign in the
struggle for recharter; namely, by the widespread circula
tion of propaganda to induce the state legislatures and the
voters back of them to support the Bank. It was a plan
which displayed Biddle s utter ignorance of his countrymen
outside of the cultured Federalist-National Republican part
of the East in which he himself moved. He had already
made two serious mistakes, the first in his letter to Ingham
which stirred Jackson s latent hostility, the second in scat
tering far and wide Smith s and McDuffie s reports. He
now decided upon the fatal one of contesting before the
country the issue of recharter, and with Andrew Jackson of
all men. This last mistake was based on two fundamental
misconceptions a total failure to comprehend Jackson s
strength with the masses, and the assumption that these
masses formed their opinions on public questions through
intelligent reading and reflection.
It was soon made evident to Biddle that the fight with the
administration would be vigorously prosecuted by its sup-
59 Biddle to Gallatin. December 28, 1830, Letter Book.
eo lbid., January i, 1831.
61 Biddle to P. P. F. Degrand, December 22, 1830, Letter Book.
Il8 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
porters. Almost simultaneously with Jackson s message
came an attack on the Bank in the Governor of Alabama s
message to his legislature. 62 From a friend in Congress
came the information that Jackson had said relative to the
Bank "he would be d d if he did not pull its damned
neck off yet." 63 In Congress a move to refer that part of
the message relative to the Bank to a specially appointed
committee instead of to the friendly Ways and Means Com
mittee was defeated by the Bank s friends by forty-three
votes. 64 Early in February, 1831, Benton delivered in the
Senate a long speech against the Bank and then asked leave
to introduce a resolution against it, but was refused, 23 votes
to 2 1. 65 The newly established Globe and other Jackson-
ian papers thundered against the Bank in chorus.
It was at this juncture that the Bank question began
really to be identified with the National Republican party. 66
This was fundamentally due to several causes. First, the su
perior culture, education and wealth of a large percentage
of the National Republican leaders made them especially
amenable to the Bank s propaganda. The second cause
was the composition of the National Republican party it
self. Made up of former Federalists and of the most na
tionalistic wing of the old Republican party it could naturally
see nothing but good in an efficient, highly centralized insti
tution such as the Bank. The third cause was the personal
friendship of most of the National Republican leaders for
Biddle and his institution. Prominent among these was a
group of Philadelphians John Binns, John Sergeant,
Thomas Cadwalader, Horace Binney, Charles Jared Inger-
soll, Robert Walsh and John Norvall most of whom were
connected with the Bank in a legal or literary capacity. In
addition to these John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Daniel
82 R. L. Colt to Biddle, December 16, 1830, Biddle MSS.
63 Crowninshield to Biddle, December 17, 1830, Biddle MSS.
84 Debates in Congress, 2ist Cong., 2nd sess., p. 350 ff.
65 Henry Toland to Biddle, February 2, 1831, Biddle MSS.
86 Cf. Hammond, vol. ii, p. 350.
INJECTION OF THE BANK INTO THE CAMPAIGN 119
Webster, James Barbour, Richard Rush, Samuel Southard
and Peter B. Porter, all national leaders of the party, re
garded the Bank with unmixed approval and saw in it noth
ing but a good influence.
Other circumstances, however, were more immediately
operative in identifying the Bank with the National Repub
lican cause. The party leaders were on the alert for a bet
ter pivotal campaign issue than the unpromising subject of
internal improvements, and to them the Bank looked most
promising. At this time February, 1831 the Jackson-
Calhoun controversy was ready to be sprung upon the public.
Calhoun had formerly been as nationalistic as Clay himself
and was still supposed to be friendly to the Bank. Hence
National Republican leaders hoped for a secession of Cal-
hounites to their party, 67 and perhaps for a schism in the
Democratic party which would result in a large fraction of
it joining them in the effort to defeat Jackson. 68 Further
more, Biddle s propaganda had already placed the Bank be
fore the country and Jackson s second message had appealed
to the States to take sides. The action of the Governor of
Alabama was one of the effects. During the first three
months of 1831, National Republican local conventions and
caucuses were nominating Clay and recommending a party
nominating convention. This was particularly true of
Massachusetts, Maine and Connecticut, in which the Bank
was specifically endorsed and named with the " American
System " as part of the party program. 69
Thus, despite his disclaimers and although he seems to
have been oblivious to the fact, Biddle s Bank was already
much involved in party politics. He now proceeded to in
volve it still more. Working through Charles J. Ingersoll,
then a member of the Pennsylvania legislature, and supple-
67 Colt to Biddle, January 29, 1831 ; John Sergeant to Biddle,
February 19, 1831, Biddle MSS.
68 Sergeant to Biddle, February 16, 1831, Biddle MSS.
69 D-egrand to Biddle, February 18, 24, March 5, 1831, Biddle
120 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
menting him with John Norvall, 70 he began a vigorous effort
to get resolutions passed by that body declaring in favor of
the Bank. His object was to counteract a similar but hostile
move from the New York legislature and thus to put the
administration in fear of losing Pennsylvania. 71 His two
lieutenants, with considerable indirect aid from him, suc
ceeded in getting the desired resolution passed by a vote of
75 to n, about the end of March. 72 Meanwhile the Regency
had introduced into the New York legislature a resolution
putting that body on record as opposed to rechartering the
Bank, and, in spite of a vigorous lobby engineered by Biddle
through Silas Burrows, 73 passed it early in April by a strict
party vote. 74
The battle thus joined, Biddle became more energetic than
ever. He urged Webster to reply 75 to Benton s speech above
mentioned, and when this was not done he himself prepared
a reply "to be circulated widely throughout the United
States." 76 His principal organs of publicity were the Na
tional [Philadelphia] Gazette, the New York American, the
National Intelligencer, and Duff Green s Telegraph. In
order to reach the Pennsylvania electorate more effectively,
he made efforts to secure lists of individuals in the State in
order to send them favorable information. 77
All this propaganda was paid for by the Bank. An ex
pense book among Biddle s papers shows that the president
was first authorized verbally by the directors at a meeting
in 1830 to print and circulate widely Smith s and McDuffie s
reports and Gallatin s article. This expending power Biddle
found to be insufficient and at another directors meeting,
70 Norvall to Biddle, March 2, 3, 11, 1831, Biddle MSS.
71 Biddle to Ingersolf, February 21 23, March 3, 1831 ; Ingersoll
to Biddle, March 11, 1831, Biddle MSS.
Ingersoll to Biddle, March 26, 1831, Biddle MSS.
78 Silas E. Burrows to Biddle, March 7, 22, 31, April 2, 5, 7, n,
1831, Biddle MSS.
74 Hammond, vol. ii, pp. 350-352 ; G. C. Verplanck to Biddle,
April 28, 1831, Biddle MSS.
75 Biddle to Webster, January 30, 1831, Letter Book.
70 Biddle to James Hunter, May 4, 1831, Letter Book.
77 Biddle to Norvall, March 5, 1831, Letter Book.
INJECTION OF THE BANK INTO THE CAMPAIGN 121
March ii, 1831, " He suggested . . . the expediency ... of
extending still more widely a knowledge of the concerns of
this Institution by means of the republication of other val
uable articles which had issued from the daily and periodical
press." He was at once given carte blanche to this end. 78
The itemized entries in this book for printing and circulating
the reports of Smith and McDuffie, Gallatin s article and
other literature on the Bank total, from January i, 1830, to
the end of June, 1831, $14,378.14.
The cabinet changes in 1831 put into office men much
more favorable to the Bank ; Edward Livingston in the State
Department, Louis McLane in the Treasury and Lewis Cass
in the War Department were all friends of the institution,
especially the two first. 79 Woodbury of the Navy Depart
ment was non-committal, while Barry of the old cabinet and
Roger B. Taney, the new Attorney-General, sided with Jack
son. The entire "Kitchen Cabinet/ excepting Lewis, was
solidly against the Bank. 80
Of the cabinet friends of the Bank, McLane was the most
active. He conferred with Biddle in Washington and again
in Philadelphia later in 1831, concerning the Bank and its
prospects for recharter. 81 In the latter of these conferences,
he told Biddle that in his approaching annual report as to
the condition of the Treasury he expected to speak favorably
of the Bank and of its recharter in preference to a new insti
tution. He said that he had stated these intentions to the
President, had explained them to him at length and that the
latter had made no objection beyond a remark that he hoped
the Bank issue would not be forced upon him at the ap-
78 Expense book among the Biddle Papers in the Library of Con
78 Hamilton to Van Buren, December 23, 1831, Van Buren MSS. ;
Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 593-594-
80 Robert M. Gibbes to Biddle, December 11, Cadwalader to
Biddle, December 26, 1831, Biddle MSS.
81 Asbury Dickins to Biddle, September 19, Wm. Mcllvame to
Biddle, September 26, 1831, Biddle MSS.; memorandum in Biddle s
hand dated October 19, 1831.
122 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
preaching session of Congress. 82 McLane said further that
Livingston had been present at this conference with Jackson
and that the two Secretaries had induced the President to
say in his coming message that " having previously brought
the subject to Congress he now leaves it with them." Mc
Lane continued that, while the President was fully confident
of his reelection, he desired it to be by a greater majority than
in 1828, and hence was loath to be forced to act on the Bank
question at all until after his election but would probably
veto it should it be forced upon him at the coming session. 83
The news of the new cabinet s friendliness had spread
rapidly and was not without effect upon the Bank s stock
holders, who held their triennial meeting on September i,
1831. At this meeting Biddle and the Bank directors were
especially authorized to apply for recharter of the institution
any time within the next three years that they might deem
best. 84 In addition to this Biddle was deluged with letters
from those interested in the institution, suggesting, urging,
insisting that the coming session of Congress was the most
auspicious time for making application. 83
True to what he had told Biddle, McLane in his report
spoke highly of the Bank s services in the past, of its indis
pensable utility to the government, and decidedly in favor
of the renewal of its charter with substantially no changes. 86
At the same time Jackson s third annual message was capable
of being construed as indicative of a change in his opinions
in regard to the Bank ; it was equally, however, open to the
construction that, while his own views were unchanged, he
would abide by the decision of Congress in regard to re-
chartering the institution. 87 The uncertainty as to Jackson s
82 The last session of Congress before the presidential election
83 Memorandum in Biddle s hand dated October 19, 1831, Biddle
8 *Niles Register, vol. xli. pp. 118-119.
85 Colt to Biddle, October 5, 7, Degrand to Biddle, October 9, J.
Cowperthwait to Biddle, November 5, 1831, Biddle MSS.
86 Niles Register, vol. xli, pp. 288-290.
87 Richardson, Messages and Papers, vol. ii, p. 588.
INJECTION OF THE BANK INTO THE CAMPAIGN 123
real attitude seemed removed by McLane s report, and a
rumor was speedily abroad in the East and South that the
President had changed his views and would not oppose the
recharter of the Bank. 88 The message was not all that
Biddle had hoped for and this, with the continued hostile
tone of the administration press, still caused him uneasiness. 89
His friends and well wishers in Washington, particularly
McLane and Sam Smith, assured him that all was well but
that it would be dangerous to press recharter upon Jackson
until after the election, as he would be likely to veto it were
it thrust upon him now. 90
What were Jackson "s real views on the subject? Profes
sor Catterall in his " Second Bank of the United States "
fell into the error of believing that Jackson at this time was
favorable to the recharter of the Bank with some modifica
tions. Jackson s rumored change of attitude, the ambiguity
in his message, and McLane s report as to the Bank caused
great uneasiness among his States Rights supporters in Vir
ginia and South Carolina. John Randolph of Roanoke
wrote to Jackson earnestly desiring to know if the report
were true, and stated that he himself had steadily refused to
believe it. To this Jackson replied :
You have done me no more than justice when you repel with
indignation the charge that I had changed my views of the Bank
of the United States, nothing more foreign to truth could have
been said. As at present organized I have uniformly on all proper
occasions held the same language in regard to that institution; and
that is that it has failed to answer the ends for which it was
created, and besides being unconstitutional, in which point of view,
no measure of utility could ever procure my official sanction, it is
on the score of mere expediency dangerous to liberty, and therefore,
worthy of the denunciation which it has received from the disciples
of the old republican school.
He added that McLane s report had been made on the
Secretary s own authority with no intention of committing
88 Hamilton to Van Buren, December 7, 1831, Van Buren MSS.;
John Randolph to Jackson, December 19, 1831, Jackson MSS.;
Niles Register, vol. xli, p. 325.
89 Biddle to Dickins, December 20, 1831, Letter Book.
90 Sam Smith to Biddle, December 7, 11, 1831, Biddle MSS.
124 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
the Executive, and " in doing this he has spoken for himself
and has not committed me, and I feel confident that he is the
last man who would desire to commit me on such a sub
That this determination to remain uncommitted, but never
theless hostile, on the subject of the Bank s future existence,
was not a mere momentary whim but a definite policy which
Jackson intended to follow doubtless with a view to post
poning the question until after the election is shown by the
following from his letter to Van Buren written the day after
his message reached Congress. Enclosing to Van Buren a
copy of the message and referring to the Secretary of the
Treasury s report, he said, " You will find McLane differs
with me on the Bank, still it is an honest difference of opin
ion, and in his report he acts fairly by leaving me free and
uncommitted, this I will be on that subject/ 92
These passages show plainly that Jackson was consistently
hostile to the Bank but preferred to remain uncommitted on
the subject. His reason for this was probably twofold. In
the first place he desired reelection by a larger majority than
in 1828. Second, he hoped to pay off the last of the national
debt by March 4, 1833, and to that end was considering the
sale to the Bank of the government s 70,000 shares of stock ;
hence he would naturally be loath to cause any depreciation
of those shares by open hostility to the Bank at this time. 93
Late in November, 1831, Biddle had come to no decision
as to applying for recharter at the approaching session of
Congress, 94 but was considering the advisability of doing so.
At this time National Republican prospects were emphatically
dark. Clay himself recognized the party s need for some-
91 Randolph to Jackson, December 19, 1831, Jackson to Randolph,
December 22, 1831, Jackson MSS.
92 Jackson to Van Buren, December 6, 1831, Van Buren MSS.
63 Cf. Memorandum in Biddle s hand of conversation with Mc
Lane, dated October 19, 1831, Biddle MSS.; cf. Jackson to Van
Buren, November 14, McLane to Van Buren, December 14, 1831,
Van Buren MSS.
94 Biddle to Silsbee, November 21, 1831, Biddle MSS.
INJECTION OF THE BANK INTO THE CAMPAIGN 125
thing to "turn up ... to give a brighter aspect to our
affairs." 95 The party convention at Baltimore which nom
inated Clay, in its address to the people, clearly and definitely
identified the recharter of the Bank with the party s govern
mental program, 96 thus carrying a step further the similar
action by several state conventions earlier in the year. 97
Even after his nomination at Baltimore, Clay was far from
cheerful as to the outlook. 98 With no better issue in sight
than that of internal improvements at national expense, the
party s position was sufficiently uncomfortable, as the re
moval of the Indians, the tariff and nullification were either
unsuitable or unavailable.
Fully realizing this the National Republicans began efforts
to secure the Bank as the much needed central issue. To
have it available, it was necessary that the Bank should ask
for recharter at the current session of Congress. The insti
tution s memorial for recharter once presented, one or all of
several things would work to their advantage. The ques
tion of recharter might cause a disastrous split among the
Democrats, 99 since a considerable number of them in Con
gress and out especially in Pennsylvania were friendly to
the Bank. Should Jackson veto a bill to that effect, it would
supply the very issue which seemed to offer the best chance
for defeating him. In any event such a bill s passage through
Congress would enable them to act as its friends and spon
sors and so identify themselves with the country s most
powerful financial interests.
No sooner was Clay s election to the Senate certain, 100
than his opinion as to the advisability of the Bank deferring
95 Clay to Brooke, December 9, 1831, Clay, Correspondence, p.
96 Journal of the Baltimore National Republican Convention.
97 National Intelligencer, February 24, March 7, 1831.
98 Clay to Brooke, December 25, 1831, Clay, Correspondence, pp.
"Edward Everett to Biddle, December 14, Biddle to Gibbes,
December 13, 1831, Biddle MSS.
100 He was elected by Kentucky legislature in November, 1831,
and took his seat in December.
126 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
its application for recharter until after the presidential elec
tion underwent a radical change. 101 He wrote Biddle from
Washington, December 15, asking if the latter had decided
what course he would take as to application at the current
session and added : " The friends of the friends of the Bank
here, with whom I have conferred, seem to expect the appli
cation to be made." He stated further that while Jackson s
course in such event was uncertain, he himself believed that
the President would sign a bill for recharter now, but would
probably veto one after reelection. 102 Not content with this,
two days later Clay called on S. H. Smith, president of
Biddle s Washington branch, and reiterated the same views
more strongly, adding that should the Bank refuse to apply
for recharter now, such action might be regarded by its
friends among the opposition in Congress as a step un
friendly to them. 103
Clay was by no means alone in thus urging this course upon
the Bank. Other prominent leaders of the party in and out
of Congress joined in the clamor. Prominent among these
were Edward Everett, Edward Shippen of Kentucky,
Charles F. Mercer of Virginia, Daniel Webster, William
Creighton, Dearborn of Massachusetts, and John Williams
of Tennessee. 104
Biddle would not be committed thus hastily however.
Unable to go himself, he sent his confidential agent and di
rector, Thomas Cadwalader, to Washington about Decem
ber 20, to reconnoiter the situation carefully and to ascertain
upon what support in Congress the Bank could rely should
it now request recharter. Cadwalader spent some ten days
at the capital and wrote Biddle his observations almost daily.
101 John Tilford to Biddle, November 11, 1831, Biddle MSS.
102 Clay to Biddle, December 15, 1831, Biddle MSS.
103 S. H. Smith to Biddle, December 17, 1831, Biddle MSS.
104 Everett to Biddle, December 5, Edward Shippen to Biddle,
December 6, Mercer to Biddle, December 12, Biddle to Cadwalader,
December 18, 24, Creighton to Cadwalader, December 30, Biddle
to Cadwalader, December 27, 1831, Williams to Biddle, January 8,
1832, Biddle MSS.
INJECTION OF THE BANK INTO THE CAMPAIGN 127
He made a careful canvass of both Senate and House. He
conferred with McLane, Sam Smith, Dallas and other well
wishers of the Bank who were administration supporters,
all of whom advised him that application at the current ses
sion would mean certain veto from Jackson. 105 He likewise
consulted Webster and other Clay leaders and found them
very eager, for party reasons, that the Bank should apply at
Biddle placed most confidence in McDuffie, 107 Calhoun s
friend, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and
with him Cadwalader worked in closest confidence. Their
joint poll of Congress indicated a majority of twenty in the
House and of about three in the Senate favorable to re-
charter at the present session. Such being the case, wrote
Cadwalader, " McDuffie leans in favor of going it now and
so do I." After stating that the advice of Webster and other
Clay men was for immediate application, but being colored
by party feeling must be discounted somewhat, he continued :
We have full confidence in McL s candour as to his belief that
Jackson will put on his veto but the old Gent m may shake in his
intentions and, if he return the Bill, he may state objections that
perhaps may be yielded to by us. . . . We might be blamed [by the
stockholders] for losing this session (the long one -moreover) &
tho we go counter to the administration men who are interested
in postponing, we keep the other party with us some of whom w d
be lukewarm; Webster w d be cold, perhaps hostile, if we bend to
the Govt influence. 108
After another conference with McLane, Sam Smith and
McDuffie, at which the two former reiterated the wisdom of
postponing application, Cadwalader returned to Philadelphia
and reported as follows :
i. The p l w d be at least as likely to sign now, as at any future
time tho all the information I have got leads me to the belief
that he will never sign 2. If he is to ... veto, the sooner the
country knows it the better the astounding effect will have time to
operate ... a vote of 2/3d being then our only chance, the general
105 Cadwalader to Biddle, December 21, 22, 23, 1831, Biddle MSS.
106 Ibid., December 25, 1831, Biddle MSS.
107 Biddle to Cadwalader, December 23, 1831, Biddle MSS.
108 Cadwalader to Biddle, December 25, 1831, Biddle MSS.
128 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
alarm ringing through the Nation will probably secure it. ... Mc-
Duffie, who has heard all the Secy s arguments for postponing,
agrees with me entirely in recommending an imme. application . . .
if we lose this session, he says, . . . our fate is certain starting
now he has great hopes of eventual success by the 2/3ds if the P-
sh d veto. 109
Acting on this recommendation from Cadwalader as the
result of the latter s investigations, Biddle and the directors
at once drew up a memorial asking for recharter, forwarded
it to Congress January 6, 1832, where it was presented by
Dallas in the Senate January 9, 110 and by McDuffie in the
House on the same day. 111 The Bank would have preferred
Webster as the man to present its memorial in the Senate,
but because of his party associations thought it wiser to
bring up the matter through Dallas, on account of the effect
which his being a Jackson man and from Pennsylvania
might be expected to have. 112
In letters to Sam Smith and James Watson Webb, Biddle
stated the Bank s reasons for making present applications
for recharter as follows: (i) The unanimous wish of the
stockholders. (2) His own belief that the present was the
best time, since unless the present Congress acted upon it,
no recharter could possibly be obtained before March, 1834,
a time too near the expiration of the old charter 1836 to
permit the institution to close up its affairs satisfactorily
should its recharter be refused. He added that the Bank
took this step now, regardless of the politicians on one side
who wished to postpone it until after election, and those on
the other who wished to precipitate it. 113
For all Biddle s disclaimers that political bias had any
weight in impelling the Bank s action, it is impossible to read
109 Undated note in pencil, addressed to Biddle, signed " T. C,"
and unmistakably from Cadwalader, after his return to Philadel
110 Biddle to Sam Smith, January 4, Dallas to Biddle January 9,
1832, Biddle MSS. ; Biddle to Dallas, January 6, 1832, Letter Book.
111 Biddle to McDuffie, January 6, 1832, Letter Book ; Niles Reg
ister, vol. xli, p. 363.
* 12 Cadwalader to Biddle, December 26, 1831, Biddle MSS.
113 Biddle to Sam Smith, January 4, 1832, Biddle MSS. ; Biddle
to Webb, January 5, 1832, Letter Book.
INJECTION OF THE BANK INTO THE CAMPAIGN 129
Cadwalader s letters to him during the latter part of Decem
ber, 1831, without being convinced that, although the pres
sure from Webster and other Clay leaders was not the prime
factor in producing the decision for an immediate move for
recharter, it certainly was not without force in contributing
to that result. Thus the Bank was irretrievably committed
as an election issue, and on the side of the National Repub
licans. Only one thing more was needed to make of it all
that this party wanted a veto by Jackson.
During the next six months Biddle employed every re
source to arouse public opinion and to produce pressure upon
Congress in favor of renewal. He at once wrote to every
branch officer to make vigorous effort to get the citizens, and
state banks if possible, in his locality to petition Congress
for a recharter of the Bank of the United States. 114 He
wrote to friends of the institution in all directions urging
them to like exertions. 115 Unable to go in person, he sent
the Bank s counsel, Horace Binney, an able lawyer, to stay
in Washington and supply Dallas and McDuffie with any
desired information. 116 He supplemented Binney with
Charles J. Ingersoll, who remained in Washington for about
two months. 117 He was persistent in his exhortations to
McLane, Dallas, Binney and Ingersoll, urging, conceding,
willing to agree to any modification of the charter which
Jackson might desire. 118 Through the press he was inces
santly active. Working through Webb s Courier and En
quirer, Gales and Seaton s National Intelligencer, Walsh s
National Gazette and Duff Green s Telegraph to all of
whom the Bank made large loans during 1831 and 1832 119
114 The letters in Biddle s Letter Book, latter half of January,
115 Biddle to William B. Astor, January 16, to Robt. Oliver, Jan
uary 16, to John Sergeant, January 18, 1832, Letter Book.
116 Binney to Biddle, January 20, 23, 1832, Biddle MSS. ; Biddle to
Dallas, February 18, 1832, Letter Book.
117 Ingersoll to Biddle, January 26, 1832, Biddle MSS.; Biddle to
Ingersoll, March 4, 1832, Letter Book.
118 Biddle to Binney, February 6, 13, to Ingersoll, February 6, 13,
1832, Letter Book.
1 19 22nd Cong., ist sess., H. Rept. No. 460, pp. 86, 87, 108-110.
I3O THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
he had thousands of extra copies of these papers and of pam
phlets containing congressional speeches in favor of the Bank
printed and distributed. Near the end of March he made
a hasty trip to Washington himself 12 and in May he went
again and remained for some weeks. 121 Excluding the thou
sands of dollars in loans to friendly newspapers, on supposed
good security, his direct expenditures for propaganda were
comparatively light during this period, amounting, so far as
can be definitely ascertained, to about $2,150 for the first six
months of the year. 121
In all these efforts for recharter Biddle was honestly
working solely for his institution and without any desire to
advance the cause of the National Republicans thereby. In
deed, could he have obtained Jackson s assent by making al
most any concession to the President s opinion in the bill re-
chartering the Bank, he would gladly have done so regardless
of the effect upon Clay s chances for election. That this
was truly the case is shown by his letters of February 6, n,
and 13 to Ingersoll. In the first of these he urged Dallas
and Ingersoll, armed with some recent resolutions of the
Pennsylvania legislature in favor of the Bank, to induce the
President to adopt the Bank bill, then pending in Congress,
as his own measure on the ground that it appeared to be the
will of the people, and thus obtain the credit for rechartering
it. 122 In the letters of the nth and I3th he wrote to the
same effect, disclaimed all interest in politics, asserted that
his main object was to preserve the Bank, 123 that all other
considerations were insignificant and that he cared " nothing
about the election. " 124
It was speedily made apparent to Biddle that he would
have no easy time getting his bill through Congress. As
soon as McDuffie brought up the Bank s memorial in the
120 Biddle to McDuffie, April 3, 1832, Letter Book.
121 Biddle to Webster, May 5, to Cadwalader, June 9, 1832, Biddle
122 Biddle to Ingersoll, February 6, 1832, Letter Book.
1 23 Ibid., February n, 1832, Biddle MSS.
124 Ibid., February 13, 1832, Letter Book.
INJECTION OF THE BANK INTO THE CAMPAIGN 131
House, Wayne of Georgia attempted to identify it with the
recent National Republican convention in Baltimore, stated
that it was purely a party measure, presented as it was four
years before the old charter expired. 125 Cambreleng then
moved that the memorial be referred to a select committee
instead of to the friendly Ways and Means Committee 126
which would be appointed by the Speaker and therefore con
tain a hostile majority. Such a move would be fraught with
danger for the Bank, since a long muck-raking investiga
tion would follow with probable indefinite postponement of
action. This the Bank s friends succeeded in defeating by a
vote of 100 to 90, thus leaving the measure with the Ways
and Means Committee. 127
Some resolutions in the Pennsylvania legislature request
ing the State s congressional delegation to work for recharter
of the Bank, which passed almost unanimously about the
first of February, 128 warned the Jacksonians that they must
proceed warily in fighting the bill for recharter. At this
time Horn, one of that State s congressmen, tried to ascer
tain from Jackson his sentiments as to the Bank, but "got
no other satisfaction than a general answer from General
Jackson that he had already said enough about it." 129 As a
counter move to the Pennsylvania resolutions, the Albany
Regency pushed through its legislature a resolution against
recharter and requested the State s congressmen to oppose
Ever since December, 1831, the National Republican lead
ers had been of the opinion that Jackson, as Clay put it, was
" playing a deep game to avoid, at this session, the respon-
125 Niles Register, vol. xli, p. 363.
126 Binney to Biddle, January 26, 1832, Biddle MSS.
127 John Connell to Biddle, January 10, N. B. Van Zandt to
Biddle, January 9, 11, 1832, Biddle MSS.; Niles Register, vol. xli,
128 John B. Wallace to Biddle, February 3, 1832, Biddle MSS.;
Niles Register, vol. xli, p. 436.
129 Ingersoll to Biddle, February 7, 1832, Biddle MSS.
130 Hammond, vol. ii, pp. 406-407; Niles Register, vol. xlii, p. 77.
132 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
sibility of any decision on the Bank question." 131 In view
of the rumors then afloat, the anxiety for postponement on
the part of McLane, Smith and other administration friends
of the Bank, and Jackson s evasiveness to Horn, there may
have been some foundation for the belief. Jackson, how
ever, knew well the will of his party at large as to the Bank,
and with him that will was apt to be conclusive. The views
of John Randolph and James Hamilton, Jr., of South Car
olina, have already been noted, as have those of Judge Catron
of Tennessee. Two other expressions of opinion reached
Jackson at about the same time as did theirs. The first,
froni Willie Blount of Tennessee, with special reference to
the Bank of the United States, stated: "My notion of all
banks is, away with their Charters, that sources for corrup
tion and aristocracy may be lessened." 132 This represented
the average view of the somewhat uncultured and unin
formed western Democrat. The second letter, from the son
of Alexander Hamilton, declared : " I am particularly op
posed to the renewal of the present Bank for considerations
arising out of its course & not least because in making ap
plication at this time it has determined to brave the General
which it will hereafter do, at any time with success if it
should be renewed. Give this institution a Charter for 20
years longer and it is a perpetuity too strong for the gov
ernment." 133 This represents accurately the ground of op
position to the Bank of Jackson s better informed eastern
followers ; namely, that the institution was inexpedient and
dangerous to liberty. The views of Randolph, referred to
above, may be taken as typical of the southern opposition on
Seeing that the Bank meant to force a recharter bill
through and that McDuffie meant to keep it under his wing,
131 Clay to Brooke, December 25, 1831, Clay Correspondence, p.
132 Willie Blount to Jackson, November I, 1831, Jackson MSS.
133 James A. Hamilton to Jackson, January 12, 1832, Jackson
INJECTION OF THE BANK INTO THE CAMPAIGN 133
the Jackson leaders in the House, working under Benton s
direction, secured early in March the appointment of a spe
cial committee to inquire into the Bank s affairs and man
agement. 134 This, being appointed by the administration
Speaker, contained a majority hostile to the Bank. 135 The
resulting majority report was excellently adapted to party
purposes ; it found the Bank guilty of subsidizing the press
by loans, and of other abuses of its position. The minority
report was nearly the exact opposite of that of the major
ity, 136 and both were made primarily for effect outside of
The result of the majority report was to make a presi
dential veto certain, as Biddle and the Bank s friends real
ized. 137 Apparently fearing the effect of so doing, Biddle
would not withdraw the request for recharter and quite
naturally the National Republicans would not favor the
step. Accordingly, backed by the efforts of Biddle in per
son outside of Congress, and by those of Webster and
McDuffie inside that body, the bill for recharter finally
passed the House by a vote of 107 to 85, 138 and the Senate
by a vote of 28 to 2O. 139 This occurred during the first
days of July, 1832.
The passage of the bill found Jackson s resolution un
changed. Two weeks before it occurred he wrote to Van
Buren that except Taney, Woodbury and Barry, all the heads
of the departments were for the Bank and added : " The co
alition [meaning the National Republicans aided by Cal-
houn s friends] are determined to press the bank & a few
more internal improvement bills on me at this session. I am
prepared to meet them as I ought but I want your aid/ 14
134 Benton, Thirty Years View, vol. i, pp. 235-238.
135 Ingrsoll to Biddle, March i, Dallas to Biddle, March 15, 1832
136 22nd Cong., ist sess., H. Rept. No. 460.
137 Biddle to Cadwalader, May 30, 1832, Biddle MSS.
138 Niles Register, vol. xlii, p. 352.
139 Congressional Debates, 22nd Cong., ist sess., vol. Hi, pt. i, p.
140 Jackson to Van Buren, June 14, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
134 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
This letter met Van Buren on his arrival in New York
early in July. He at once hastened to Washington, arriving
there Saturday night, July 8. 141 He tells us :
On the night of my . . . appearance at the White House, after
my return from England, [Jackson was] stretched upon a sick bed
a specter in physical appearance. . . . Holding my hand in one of
his own, and passing the other through his long white locks he
said, with the clearest indications of a mind composed, and in a
tone entirely devoid of passion or bluster the bank, Mr. Van
Buren is trying to kill me, but I will kill it. ... If a wish to pro
pitiate the bank or to avoid its hostility had ever been entertained
by him he might have gratified it at any moment after his acces
sion to office. 142
Jackson returned the bill to Congress with his veto July
10, and the effort to secure a two-thirds vote failed in the
Senate, the vote being 22 to ig. 143 The issue was fairly
joined. The National Republicans had their much needed
leading issue for the campaign, and the Bank s only hope lay
in joining them in defeating Jackson at the polls, either in
his person direct, or by securing two-thirds of the new Con
gress favorable to recharter. As Sam Smith put it in a letter
to Jackson, after having urged the President to sign the bill
if he could possibly see his way clear to doing so, " The
mooting of the question at the present session was against
my opinion. It will however have the effect to cause all the
Election to be contested on the principle of Bank or no
141 Creighton to Biddle, July 10, 1832, Biddle MSS.
142 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 625.
143 Creighton to Biddle, July 10, 1832, Biddle MSS. ; Niles Reg
ister, vol. xlii, pp. 365-368, 378-379.
144 Sam Smith to Jackson, June 17, 1832, Jackson MSS.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE CAMPAIGN
The presidential campaign of 1832 differed essentially
from the two immediately preceding it. The former had
been contests between factions of the old Republican party,
their issues had been confined chiefly to the personalities of
the candidates, and the voter had been distinctively known
as an Adams, a Jackson, a Clay or a Calhoun man, according
to the leader of his faction. The campaign of 1832 was be
tween three definitely organized political parties, each with a
more or less definite governmental program in view, and
each emphasizing that policy before the personality of its
candidate. In 1824, and for the most part in 1828 also, cam
paign issues had been utilized principally for their effect in
electing the particular candidate supported, rather than for
themselves as issues ; in 1832 the nominees were entered by
their respective parties as champions of particular principles,
these principles taking precedence over the candidates in
With the single exception of nullification, Jackson himself
supplied all the issues on which his campaign for reelection
was fought and upon which his newly established Democratic
party rested. In its larger aspects, therefore, the campaign
was a decisive test before the country of his work and of his
party s stability as a political organization. The principles
which were now the campaign issues had, for the most part,
been evolved with the party during Jackson s first admin
When elected in 1828, Jackson cannot be said to have been
the leader of a political party ; his following was too hetero
geneous for that. At that time, excluding a few Federalists
136 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
and the followers of Adams and Clay, Jackson s support
embraced all of the old Republican party as it had been in
Monroe s day. This strength was clearly reflected iii the
vote for Speaker of the Congress elected with Jackson, when
Stevenson received 152 votes against 39 for all others. 1 This
large following was not destined to remain intact and to be
come in toto the new Democratic party. Such might have
been the result had Jackson carried on the old Monroe pol
icies with their leanings toward nationalism.
The successive development and application of Jackson s
policy and constitutional views as to removals from office,
the Indian question, internal improvements, the choice of a
successor, nullification, and the Bank, made it impossible to
keep together the following which had elected him in 1828.
Each of these issues in turn caused the defection of a rela
tively small number of supporters. The large majority
which steadfastly supported him through these various se
cessions, or elimination processes, was the new Democratic
party properly speaking. All of these questions collectively
were the issues of the campaign, but the most important and
the one which was the final test of Jackson s political judg
ment and leadership, and the principal issue on which the
contest turned, was the Bank. How the latter came to oc
cupy the foremost place has already been described.
After noticing very briefly the effect of the above-men
tioned issues in reducing Jackson s original following, it will
be in order to notice the conduct of the Bank and its effect
on the campaign during the contest s concluding months.
The chief article in Jackson s political creed was what
Benton called 2 the demos krateo principle the commons to
govern and he possessed an intuitive ability to interpret
that body s will. Jackson himself expressed it thus : " you
know, I never despair. I have confidence in the virtue &
good sense of the people." 3 Herein lay his strength during
1 Niles Register, vol. xxxvii, p. 254.
2 Benton, vol. i, p. 46.
3 Jackson to Van Buren, November I, 1830, Van Buren MSS.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE CAMPAIGN 137
his presidency, both as executive and as party leader.* It
was in obedience to his honest interpretation of the people s
will that he reversed his views in i824 5 and inaugurated the
removal from office of those whom he believed to be the
political tools which a corrupt administration had used to de
feat the popular will. 6 In appointing his friends to these
offices, Jackson merely did what both Clay and Edward
Everett had strongly advocated during Adams administra
tion. 7 The removals and appointments, beyond alarming
Calhoun 8 and alienating a few men like John McLean, 9 had
little effect on Jackson s following save to strengthen its con
fidence in its leader. Aside from introducing a bad prece
dent, the effect of the removals was beneficial in that it
strengthened the President s control of the executive depart
ments, thereby promoting the independence of the executive
branch of the government.
Jackson s decision to remove the Indians to reservations
west of the Mississippi, or else to leave them entirely in the
hands of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, 10 caused the de
fection of many pious people like the Quakers, whose kind
ness of heart and missionary zeal far outran their knowledge
of the actual state of affairs. 11 The opposition seized upon
this question as the first ground for attacking the administra
tion, a preliminary test of strength, a " feeling out " of the
country. 12 Such losses as Jackson sustained from it were
confined to the East and, it is reasonable to believe, were
*Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 226, 253, 449, 543.
5 Jackson to Donelson, April u, 1824, Bonelson MSS.
6 Jackson to Van Buren, March 31, 1829, Jackson MSS.
7 Clay to Webster, April 14, 1827, Webster MSS. ; Everett to Mc
Lean, August i, 18, 1828, McLean MSS.
8 Calhoun to McLean, September 22, 1829, McLean MSS.
9 Joseph E. Sprague to McLean, March 23, 1829, William Slade
to McLean, March 23, 1829, McLean MSS.; Cambreleng to Van
Buren, April 28, 1829, Van Buren MSS.
10 Jackson to Ingham, July 31, 1830, John Coffee to Jackson, Sep
tember 29, 1830, Jackson MSS.
11 Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 284-2^5; 2^8-289.
12 Ibid., pp. 287-289.
138 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
largely balanced by the effect on the West and Southwest,
where removal of the Indians was highly popular.
The Maysville veto, with the decisive check it administered
to the general inclination for internal improvements at na
tional expense, caused the first notable, and perhaps the
largest, secession from the Jackson ranks. The bill in ques
tion had passed the House by a vote of 96 to 87 13 before the
President s attitude was definitely known, 14 and the attempt
to pass it over his veto had 97 votes for, to 90 opposed.
This indicates a distinct falling off in the strength which
elected Stevenson administration speaker six months earlier.
It marked the first sharp drawing of party lines on the basis
of principle. This is not surprising since the veto was in
effect a direct blow at one wing of the National Republican
basic doctrine, the "American System." The National Re
publicans, eager to gather into their fold the fragments broken
away from the Jackson party by the veto, as heretofore
noted, launched their campaign for Clay as soon as the presi
dential negative of the Maysville Road Bill had had time to
circulate through the country.
Almost exactly coincident with the Maysville veto came
Jackson s break with Calhoun, the outcome of the contest
for the succession between the latter and Van Buren. Only
six weeks before the break the President s attitude against
nullification had been made known. These two factors oper
ated to counteract each other to some extent in their effect
on the party. Jackson s course toward Calhoun and his par
tiality for Van Buren operated unfavorably for the Presi
dent s party among Calhoun s admirers both North and
South. It was this which quickened the hopes of the Na
tional Republicans just prior to launching Clay s campaign. 15
On the other hand, Jackson s resolute " Our Federal Union
it must be preserved," together with Calhoun s open advo-
13 Niles Register, vol. xxxviii, p. 183.
14 Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 322-325.
15 Clay to Brooke, April 24, 1830, Webster to Clay, May 29, 1830,
Clay, Correspondence, pp. 262-265, 275-276.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE CAMPAIGN 139
cacy of nullification, strengthened the Executive in both East
and North. 16
The part of Jackson s original following, whose loyalty to
him thus far had remained unshaken, underwent another re
duction in consequence of his attack on the Bank. The
losses, however, which his party sustained in the course of
that encounter, down to the end of 1832, were less than those
entailed by his veto of the Maysville Road Bill. This was
due in part to the fact that in proportion as his following had
been diminished by the issues just referred to, the residue
was proportionately unlikely to be affected ; partly to the in
nate hostility of the masses, the bulk of his party, to wealth
in general ; and partly to the fact that the Bank did not be
come a campaign issue, in the full sense, until Jackson s veto
of the recharter bill in July, 1832.
The campaign entered its last stage with the May conven
tions of 1832, of which the Democratic has already been de
scribed. The National Republican convention of young men
which met in Washington May 7 to I2, 17 pursuant to call
by the convention of the party at Baltimore, 18 was in all
respects an electioneering move designed to stir party enthu
siasm. Ostensibly, its primary object was the ratification of
Clay s nomination and this it proceeded to do on the third
day of its session. 19 Immediately following this began the
real work for which the young men had been assembled,
the adoption of measures for setting forth the party s plat
form and for appealing to the country. For these objects
two committees, each containing a member from each State
present, were appointed. The duty of one of these commit-
16 Van Buren, Autobiography, pp. 415-417; Hamilton to Jackson,
September i, 1831, Jackson MSS.
17 National Intelligencer, May 8-14, 1832.
18 Convention of National Republican Party at Baltimore, De
cember, 1831, Niles Register, vol. xli, p. 305; Journal of the Na
tional Republican Convention.
19 Proceedings of the National Republican Convention of Young
Men . . . Washington, May 7, 1832, in Historical Pamphlets, vol.
293, No. 18, Johns Hopkins University Library.
I4O THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
tees was to draft the usual address, that of the other to draw
up " resolutions upon such subjects as shall be deemed proper
to be acted upon by this Convention." 20
The first of these documents, the address " to the Young
Men of the United States," was similar in all respects to the
usual party appeal of this kind, although it should be under
stood that the manifestos issued by the party conventions
of the period differed essentially from the present-day plat
form, first in being solely a justification of, or sort of apo
logia for, the action of the bodies from which they issued ;
second in dwelling almost entirely upon the errors and evils
of the opponent s policy, with little or nothing said, save by
implication, as to their own constructive program. The first
party platform in the modern sense was the second document
drawn up by the convention, "the Resolutions." 21 The
first four of these resolutions stated clearly the party s advo
cacy of a protective tariff, internal improvements at national
expense, and the maintenance of the Supreme Court s au
thority and jurisdiction. The remainder were of a denun
ciatory character, severely criticizing the removals from
office as violations of the spirit and letter of the Constitution,
the administration s course as to the New England boundary
dispute, and the West Indian trade controversy. The reso
lutions closed with the present-day declaration that the safety,
honor and welfare of the union demanded the election of the
National Republican candidates. 22
This convention, barring the platform, produced no inno
vations in convention practice that had not already been ap
plied by one or another of the similar party convocations.
Its proceedings included an invitation to Clay to be present
in person to deliver a short speech and to meet the delegates,
some 315 in number. There was a pilgrimage of the con
vention in a body to Mount Vernon, and a visit by a special
21 For complete resolutions, see Appendix III.
22 Proceedings of the National Republican Convention of Young
THE CONCLUSION OF THE CAMPAIGN 141
committee to pay the party s respects to Charles Carroll of
Carrollton. This latter courtesy was the way in which each
of the three major party conventions expressed its veneration
for the founders of the republic.
The dire need of the National Republicans for a campaign
issue and their eagerness to have the Bank commit itself as
such has already been mentioned. In the seven months be
tween Clay s nomination at Baltimore and Jackson s veto of
the bill rechartering the Bank, the hopes of the party for suc
cess did not rise very high. Clay s refusal to come out
against the Masonic order and the Antimasonic nomination
of Wirt split in two the potential vote against Jackson. If
the latter was to be defeated, there was truly need for union
in the opposition, both National Republican and Antimasonic.
A careful observer wrote Jackson as early as July, 1831, be
fore the Bank had committed itself to the National Repub
licans : " Upon a comparison of facts carefully collated for
some time past from a mass of newspapers from every State
in the Union, inimical and friendly, and the examination of
several hundred toasts drank [on the 4th of July, 1831], . . .
I set it down with the utmost confidence in the accuracy of
the prediction, that, if your life is spared, you will be again
sworn in as President ... on the 4th of March, 1833."
The writer added further that he was certain of the senti
ments of Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania,
Virginia, the two Carolinas and Georgia. 23 In November,
1831, Richards, mayor of Philadelphia, wrote McLean that
Jackson s election appeared certain. 24 We have noticed else
where Clay s own rather gloomy views expressed in Decem
ber, 1831 ; indeed, it was reported at that time, with perhaps
some basis of truth, that Clay s nomination by the National
Republicans at Baltimore had been "not with any hope of
his success at the next election, but for future use, and to
23 Charles G. DeWitt to Jackson, July 20, 1831, Jackson MSS.
24 Richards to McLean, November n, 1831, McLean MSS.
142 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
prevent him from sinking into oblivion as a candidate for the
However this last might be, it was plainly evident early
in 1832 that Jackson s popularity was not appreciably dimin
ished, 26 and that unless a union could be effected between
Antimasons and National Republicans his election was a fore
gone conclusion. A letter written by William Wirt, the Anti-
masonic candidate, to John McLean at this time is important,
both as emphasizing this fact and as indicating Wirt s entire
indifference to the Antimasons :
I lament with you the inefficiency of the opposition. If it were
merely an opposition to the present order of things it would unite
and become efficient. But the opposition itself is formed of self
asserting materials. How is this intestine war among the very
elements of the opposition to be overcome? The National Repub
licans would not leave their present nomination for any other man
in the Union. Their candidate will infallibly keep the field.
Neither the Anti-tariff nor the Antimasonic party will unite upon
him ; and his party will unite upon no other. So that the defeat
of the opposition seems at present to be unavoidable. And they
all know it. Yet not an advance is made or even meditated toward
conciliation. If they would consent to set aside the whole array of
nominees & agree upon a new name, the object might be accom
plished. The Antimasons would do this, in favor of one individual
[McLean], and they would have my most hearty concurrence. But
the National Republicans will never consent to abandon their first
choice to come to that individual. ... It is easy to see what reason
and patriotism dictate in the case but the small still voice of
reason and patriotism is drowned amidst the roar and din of con
tending factions. For my own part, I have held but one language
to the Antimasons from the beginning which is that I consider
their nomination of me as their own work that it is their perfect
right to change it whenever they please, and that my opinion, it is
their duty to change it, if by so doing, they can prevent the reelec
tion of the present incumbent without any material sacrifice of their
own principle and this they could do &, I am persuaded would do,
if the National Republicans could be prevailed on to unite in the
measure. But these last say, on the other hand, that they cannot
do so without entirely sacrificing their own principles for they
consider their candidates as identified with their principles & the
very existence of their party. So that the greater considerations
of the Country, of the constitution and the union is to be sacri
ficed to the triumph of a party, or rather to an effort at triumph
which they cannot but know must end in defeat. So that it is not
the want of skill nor of perseverance . . . which is to ruin us ...
25 Jackson to Van Buren, December 17, 1831, Van Buren MSS.
26 M. T. Simpson to McLean, February 8, 1832, McLean MSS.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE CAMPAIGN 143
it is wilful obstinacy and perseverance in a cause which they know
will be fatal. Heaven have mercy on us for that alone can save
It would seem from this distance that the union of the
two parties would have been easily possible but for the Na
tional Republican obstinacy in courting certain defeat in
preference to giving up Clay ; for, while the Antimasons were
not greatly interested as a party in the questions of internal
improvements, tariff, and Bank, the fact that their strong
holds were in New England, New York, Pennsylvania and
Ohio presupposes among a considerable part of their voters,
at least, a preference for a nationalistic policy regarding these
questions. According to Thurlow Weed, the Antimasons
sympathized with Clay s views, particularly on the tariff. 28
From this it is apparent that no sacrifice of National Repub
lican principles would have been entailed by effecting at once
the union with the Antimasons, which they resorted to two
Wirt was not alone in the opinion that the refusal of the
National Republicans to give up Clay and unite with the
Antimasons in supporting some other candidate against
Jackson would produce the defeat of them both. 29 This need
for unity in the opposition against Jackson was clearly felt
by both Antimasons and National Republicans, and even by
the disgruntled followers of Calhoun. Calhoun himself, his
friend and ally, Governor Floyd of Virginia, and Duff Green,
as early as March, 1832, seriously considered placing the
South Carolinian in the field as a presidential candidate. Ac
cordingly they approached Clay s friends with the proposi
tion that the latter should unite with them in supporting
Calhoun in the South and Southwest, provided it should ap
pear that, thus supported, the latter could carry several
27 William Wirt to McLean, April 17, 1832, McLean MSS.
28 Cf. Weed, Autobiography, p. 350; Clay to Johnston, July 23,
1831, Clay, Correspondence, p. 309.
29 Cf. Weed, p. 391 ; John Norvall to McLean, January 20, John
W. Taylor to McLean, May 18, B. W. Richards to McLean, June
5, 1832, McLean MSS.
144 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
states. The object of such a scheme, aside from the motive
of revenge on Calhoun s part, was to bring the election of
president into the House of Representatives where Clay s
chances would be infinitely better. 30 Nothing more appears
relative to the plan, and as Calhoun was not brought out for
president, and as the Clay party in Virginia chose Clay elec
tors, 31 the presumption is that Calhoun s friends perceived
the impossibility of his carrying any State save his own and
gave up the idea.
The opposition to Van Buren s vice-presidential candidacy
by the Calhoun faction has already been noticed, together
with its failure to prevent his nomination at the Baltimore
Convention in May, 1832. The South Carolinian s managers
then transferred their activities again to Virginia, the Caro-
linas, and Alabama, their object being to nominate Barbour
with Jackson on a separate ticket, 32 as had been done by the
opposition to Van Buren within the Democratic party in
Pennsylvania. Accordingly they held a state nominating
convention at Charlottes ville, Virginia, June 12-14, nom
inated Jackson and Barbour, appointed a corresponding
committee, drew up the customary address and chose electors
favorable to Barbour instead of Van Buren. 33 It was fol
lowed by another similar convention and a like result in
North Carolina, June the i8th. To the North Carolina Con
vention s notification to him of his nomination, Barbour re
turned an appreciative but equivocal reply, neither accepting
nor declining. 34 In South Carolina Barbour was nominated
for vice-president by a local meeting in the Laurens district,
the bulk of the State being apparently too much absorbed
30 Clay to Brooke, April I, 1832, Clay, Correspondence, pp. 332-
31 Niles Register, vol. xlii, p. 327 ; Stevenson to Ritchie, Feb
ruary 4, C. W. Gooch to Cambreleng, October 9, 1832, Van Buren
32 John Randolph to Jackson, July 5, 15, 1832, Jackson MSS.
33 Richmond Enquirer, June 19, 1832 ; Niles Register, vol. xlii,
s* Ibid., pp. 339, 406.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE CAMPAIGN 145
with nullification to think much about opposing Van Buren
by means of the ballot. 35 In Alabama the attempt to place
Barbour on the Jackson ticket seems to have failed com
Barbour s course in regard to this movement was peculiar
but is not hard to explain. Since 1830 he had been a Judge
of the United States District Court in Virginia, 37 and was in
the good graces of the administration. It is not improbable
that he had his eyes on a seat on the national Supreme Bench.
Hence he would naturally be chary of offending the power
from which his appointment must come. His nomination in
opposition to Van Buren did not meet with administration
approval, as the tone of the Globe soon showed. 38 In spite
of this and of pressure from the Junto, Barbour was loath
to withdraw his name, 39 and it was not until the very eve of
the election that he decided to jeopardize his future no fur
ther, and withdrew his name from the Democratic ticket.
The reason he alleged for his withdrawal was that the oppo
sition party was using his nomination as a basis for pro
claiming that a division existed in the Democratic party. 40
His action was, however, sufficiently early to placate the ad
ministration and to admit of Jackson appointing him to the
Supreme Court about the end of 1835. 41
While this had been going on in the South during the hot
test of the campaign, a definite move was made toward a
combination of National Republican and Antimasonic forces
in New York, to enable the latter with National Republican
aid to win the control of the State from the Democrats. In
return for this, the National Republicans expected the sup
port of the Antimasonic electors to be given to Clay. It was
the first step toward what became, in the North at least, a
35 Ibid., vol. xlii, p. 405.
36 Jackson to Van Buren, September 16, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
37 Niles Register, vol. xxxix, p. 121.
38 Ibid., vol. xlii, p. 406.
39 C. W. Gooch to Cambreleng, October 9, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
40 Letter of withdrawal dated October 24, 1832, published in
Richmond Enquirer, October 30, 1832; also in Niles Register, vol.
xliii, p. 153.
41 Niles Register, vol. xlix, p. 300.
146 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
complete merging of both parties in the Whigs two years
later. In pursuance of this plan, the presidential electors
of the Antimasonic party were unpledged to any candidate,
and the subsequent National Republican state convention
adopted Granger and Stevens, the Antimasonic gubernatorial
ticket, together with the Antimasonic slate of presidential
electors, as its own. To further the coalition and prevent
discord between the two parties in making their local nom
inations in the districts and counties, one National Repub
lican and one Antimason, Matthew L. Davis and Thurlow
Weed, were selected by their respective parties to make the
rounds of the local conventions to unite them upon the same
candidates for the legislature and other state offices. 42 This
junction of forces was rendered the more feasible since both
parties in the State favored the Bank and the " American
System. * 43
This coalition gave the Democrats of the Regency no un
easiness. The fact that neither Antimasons nor National
Republicans dared avow whom their presidential electors, if
chosen, would vote for, made a fine subject for ridicule for
the Democratic press which referred to the coalition as the
" Siamese Twin Party," on account of the peregrinations
about the State of Davis and Weed. 44 The Regency conven
tion nominated William L. Marcy as its candidate for gov
ernor, 45 and Van Buren himself took charge of the campaign.
In the course of a tour through the State, he wrote to Jack
son the following : " The union between the different sections
of the opposition, is, on the face of it quite imposing, but
you may rest assured that we shall give them a sound beat
ing. ... I can with truth say that the election field never
presented so pleasant an aspect to me as at this time." 46
42 William Rupell to McLean, May 14, 1832, Albert H. Tracy to
McLean, October 19, 1832, McLean MSS.; Weed, 413-414; Ham
mond, vol. ii, p. 417.
43 McCarthy, The Antimasonic Party, p. 413, based on Thurlow
Weed s Albany Evening Journal, August 24, September 14, 1832.
44 Hammond, vol. ii, pp. 417-418; Weed, pp. 413-414.
45 Hammond, vol. ii, pp. 421-423.
46 Van Buren to Jackson, August 29, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE CAMPAIGN 147
One of the principal grounds on which Van Buren was
attacked after his nomination on the ticket with Jackson was
his tariff attitude. In the South it was feared that he did
not favor reduction of the tariff, and in the North he was
suspected of opposing protection. The uneasiness in the
party on this subject, even before he returned from Europe,
led Jackson to write him, " They enemies have attempted to
assail you on your ultra tariff opinions. I have said you
were for a fair protection to place our productive labour on
a fair competition with that of Europe &c &c." 47
Van Buren, as a matter of fact, had supported the Tariff
of i828. 48 This record, together with the allegations of the
opposition, coupled with the movement in favor of Barbour,
and Jackson s action in signing a bill for some internal im
provements whose national character was dubious, 49 caused
considerable uneasiness among the Democratic leaders in the
South. To such an extent were they carried by their fears
that Daniel and Ritchie, of the Junto, and John Forsyth of
Georgia wrote Van Buren urging him to take "the first op
portunity of putting yourself right on the subject of the
tariff of 1828," 50 to work for a reduction of duties in order
to conciliate South Carolina, and, for its effect on the party
at large, to come out strongly on old Democratic principles. 51
Further point was added to these exhortations by a political
meeting held at Shocco Springs, North Carolina, on August
25. Through a committee it addressed to both Van Buren
and Barbour a request to be informed of their sentiments
" on the subjects of the protective system and its proper ad
justment, internal improvements, the Bank of the United
States and nullification." 52
47 Jackson to Van Buren, July 7, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
48 Van Buren Autobiography, p. 171.
49 Niles Register, vol. xlii, p. 382.
50 Forsyth to Van Buren, July 7, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
51 Ritchie to Van Buren, July 10, P. V. Daniel to Van Buren,
July 12, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
52 Quoted by Van Buren from the Shocco Springs Committee s
resolutions of enquiry. See Appendix II.
148 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
This inquiry reached Van Buren in the midst of a trip
into western New York about the first of October. Coming
on the heels of the Junto s uneasiness, it decided him to
speak. His reply, written largely in pencil and while trav
eling in stage coaches and canal boats, dated October 4, 53
was published first in the Albany Argus. 54 This document
constitutes the best statement anywhere to be found of the
principles which Jackson had established as the party tenets. 85
Jackson wrote with reference to it : "I have seen and read
with much pleasure your reply to the Committee of N. Car
olina. It breathes the same principles and opinions I as
sured your friends you always possessed All my pledges
on this score you have redeemed. Your reply meets the ap
probation of all your friends and must silence your en
emies." 56 This letter of Van Buren s was published by
Blair in pamphlet form in 1834, presumably for party use in
the next presidential campaign. In the present campaign,
together with Jackson s veto message on the Bank, it formed
the party s chief campaign literature of the more substantial
In this reply Van Buren discussed the subjects in the
order inquired about. He declared his belief in the power of
Congress to enact tariff legislation, but stated that he was op
posed to any tariff which operated unequally on different
parts of the country and added that the near extinction of
the public debt made tariff reduction further desirable, quot
ing Jackson s third annual message on this point. 57 Con
cerning internal improvements he expressed the same views
as those of Jackson s Maysville veto; namely, that the na
tional government was without constitutional authority to
construct directly internal improvements within a State, but
53 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 562.
5 * Niles Register, vol. xliii, p. 125.
55 Van Buren s reply, Pamphlet under this caption in Van Buren
MSS. ; cf. Autobiography, p. 567; see Appendix II.
56 Jackson to Van Buren, October 23, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
57 Cf. Richardson, Messages and Papers, vol. ii, pp. 556.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE CAMPAIGN 149
might aid financially such works of improvement as were na
tional, as distinguished from local, in character. Concerning
the Bank and nullification he stated unequivocally his belief
that both were unconstitutional, and that the latter, in addi
tion, would entail "the ultimate but certain destruction of
Jackson returned the Bank Bill with his veto on July 10,
i832. 68 Coming at this time, and in view of the National
Republicans* attitude toward the Bank, the veto made it cer
tain that " Bank or no Bank " 59 would be the main issue of
the campaign. Both National Republicans and Democrats
were alike pleased that such was the case. "If Jacksonism,"
wrote Watmough to Biddle, "can stand this, it will stand
anything & we may as well give up the rule to vulgarity &
Barbarism at once. 5 " 60 Biddle wrote to Clay, "the Presi
dent . . . must pay the penalty of his own rashness. As to
the veto message, I am delighted with it. ... It is really a
manifesto of anarchy such as Marat or Robespierre might
have issued to the mob of the Faubourg St. Antoine ; and
my hope is, that it will contribute to relieve the country from
the dominion of these miserable people. You are destined
to be the instrument of that deliverance." 61 On the Demo
crats side, Peter V. Daniel wrote Van Buren : " I greatly re
joice at the President s rejection of the Bank Bill." 62 Van
Buren said : " The Veto is popular [in New York] beyond my
most sanguine expectations. I have not heard of a single
case where it has driven a friend from us ... and for the
first time since I have taken part in politics, have I found a
prominent measure of an opposing candidate extensively ap
plauded by his adversaries." 63
58 Ibid., vol. ii, pp. 576-591.
59 Sam Smith to Jackson, June 17, 1832, Jackson MSS.
60 Watmough to Biddle, July 10, 1832, Biddle MSS.
61 Biddle to Clay, August I, 1832, Clay, Correspondence, p. 341.
1 Daniel to Van Buren, July 12, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
63 Van Buren to Donelson, August 26, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
150 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
The veto message, probably the joint work of Jackson and
Taney, 64 was an excellent campaign document, and in that
part dealing with the constitutional aspects of the case, an
able, well-reasoned production. As a friend in the Senate
wrote Biddle, it was written for effect and as an appeal to
the country. 65 It objected to the Bank as unconstitutional,
as a monopoly, as unnecessary, inexpedient and injurious to
the country, and supplemented these objections by an appeal
to the natural dislike of poverty for wealth, to the prejudices
of the state banks and to the national prejudice against for
eign stockholders. 66
Both parties, Democrats and National Republicans the
Bank s cause being so enthusiastically pushed by the latter as
to exclude practically all else now joined battle in good
earnest. 67 The Democrats had manifested their confidence
in the efHcacy of the veto as an aid to their cause by mov
ing in Congress that 16,000 copies of the message should be
printed for use of the members. 68 So great was the con
fidence of the National Republican Congressmen in its good
effects upon their cause that they joined the Democrats in
passing the resolution. Nor did their party s error end
there. Their press, aided by the Bank, printed and circu
lated it by thousands, together with the speeches against it in
the Senate by Clay and Webster. 69 Indeed the expense ac
count of the Bank contains an item of $558 expended for
printing, wrapping and distributing 30,000 copies of " Gen
eral Jackson s veto."
In addition to supplying their leading issue, the Bank was
incidentally a valuable financial ally of the National Repub-
64 Cf. Jackson to Van Buren, July 7, 1832, Van Buren MSS. ; cf.
Taney to Jackson, June 27, 1832, Jackson MSS.
65 J. S. Johnston to Biddle, July 10, 1832, Biddle MSS.
96 Richardson, Messages and Papers, vol. ii, pp. 576-591.
Watmough to Biddle, July 13, 1832, Biddle MSS.
68 Niles Register, vol. xlii, pp. 361, 379.
69 Clay to Webster, August 27, 1832, Webster MSS. ; Watmough
to Biddle, September 25, 1832, Biddle MSS.; Biddle to Webster,
October 14, 1832, Letter Book.
70 Expense Book in Biddle MSS.; 23rd Cong., 2nd sess., S. Doc.
No. 17, p. 325-
THE CONCLUSION OF THE CAMPAIGN 151
licans. The institution s expense account shows a total of
$16,999.00 applied, during the last half of 1832, to the pub
lishing and distributing of the veto message, speeches of Clay,
Webster and Ewing, and other literature favorable to the
Bank. From the beginning of 1830 to the end of 1832 the
Bank spent for propagandic and campaign purposes certainly
above $42,000.00, a sum at least the equivalent of half a mil
lion expended in a campaign of today. 71
The first indication bearing on the general results of the
efforts of both parties was the election of state officers in
Kentucky during August. Both sides relied mainly on the
Bank issue and made a liberal use of the veto message. The
Democrats, however, had the better organization and diffused
their literature more widely. 72 On the other hand the veto
of the Bank bill aided the National Republicans considerably
since it caused a small financial panic in some places. 73 This
contest in Clay s supposed stronghold resulted in the election
of Breathitt, the Jackson candidate for governor, by a major
ity of some twelve hundred, although Clay s forces suc
ceeded in electing their candidate for lieutenant-governor
and a majority of the legislature. 74
This failure of the National Republicans to carry Ken
tucky entirely had a depressing effect on them and cor
respondingly encouraged the Democrats. Clay wrote Webster
in rather gloomy vein lamenting the superior industry of the
Jacksonians in " the circulation of documents " and the slow
ness with which their own party had acted in this respect. 75
To Biddle he wrote in the same strain : " I . . . sincerely hope
that the overthrow which you anticipate, of our present
misguided rulers will be realized. ... I transmit under your
cover a letter . . . which . . . contains a faithful account
71 Ibid., Expense Book in Biddle MSS.
72 Clay to Webster, August 27, 1832, Webster MSS.
73 John Breathitt to Jackson, August 23, 1832, Jackson MSS.;
Niles Register, vol. xlii, pp. 407, 425, 427.
74 Niles Register, vol. xliii, p. 3.
75 Clay to Webster, August 27, 1832, Webster MSS.
152 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
of our recent elections. Their result was certainly not satis
factory, in all respects." 76 At this time Van Buren, in writing
Jackson from New York, added to his letter : " P. S. B s
[Breathitt s election in Kentucky] is truly a glorious affair.
You can form no idea of the effect it has had upon the poor
Clay men in this quarter." 77
Jackson himself watched the public sentiment closely.
He had a fair opportunity of observing for himself the situ
ation in the South, the West and the Southwest as he trav
ersed Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky in the course of his
trip to the Hermitage from July to October. 78 In addition,
while at the Hermitage, he received reports from friends and
party leaders in different quarters of the country. 79 His es
timate of the outlook was as follows : " The veto works well,"
he wrote Donelson, " instead of crushing me as was expected
& intended, it will crush the Bank." 80 To Van Buren he
wrote : " Mr. Clay will not get one Electoral vote west of the
mountains or south of the Potomac, in my opinion." 81 " I
have twice passed through Virginia at different points on my
journey to & from the Hermitage I have no hesitation in
assuring you, that it is my opinion, that you will get the vote
of every state that I will, except S. Carolina, and it is doubt-
full whether she will give her vote to either of us." 82
Even men who were disinterested in the election s outcome
and not unfriendly to Clay regarded the result as a foregone
conclusion from the time the Bank veto was fairly before the
country. Richards wrote McLean : " I think the bank cannot
now be rechartered, it threw itself upon the support of the
Clay party and relied upon the fears of Jackson to secure it
76 Clay to Biddle, August 27, 1832, Biddle MSS.
77 Van Buren to Jackson, August 29, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
78 Jackson to Andrew Jackson, Jr., July 19, 1832, Jackson MSS.;
Globe, October 20, 1832.
79 Cf. Van Buren to Jackson, August 29, 31, Jackson to Van
Buren, August 30, September 16, October 23, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
80 Jackson to Donelson, August 9, 1832, Donelson MSS.
81 Jackson to Van Buren, September 16, 1832, Van Buren MSS.
82 Ibid., October 23, 1832.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE CAMPAIGN 153
his signature at the last moment. It has miscalculated on
both grounds. The Clay party will gain nothing on the Bank
question in this State [Pennsylvania] and will lose elsewhere.
Attachment to a large monied corporation is not a popular
attribute. The feeling of common minds is against Mr.
Clay." 83 McLean himself expressed this opinion : "I do
not believe that the veto will lose the general the vote of any
State; and his election, I consider, as certain as any future
event can be. His opponent will fall below the last vote of
Mr. Adams." 84
The election returns fulfilled these prophecies excepting
only as to Pennsylvania and Kentucky. The result was a
victory for Jackson by an electoral vote unequalled, when
two or more parties participated, since the days of Washing
ton. Wirt and Ellmaker obtained only the seven votes of
Vermont. Clay and Sergeant received the entire vote of
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware and
Kentucky, and five from Maryland a total of 49. Except
ing South Carolina s, Jackson received every remaining elec
toral vote save two not cast in Maryland, 85 a total of 219
of the 288 in the electoral college. Van Buren did nearly as
well ; he received the same electoral vote as did Jackson less
the 30 votes of Pennsylvania which went to Wilkins. In
South Carolina and Delaware presidential electors were still
appointed by the legislature. Since the nullificationists
wholly controlled the former State, it is not strange that its
1 1 votes went to Calhoun s friend, John Floyd of Virginia. 86
The popular vote defies exact calculation. Based on the
returns given in Niles Register, probably the most accurate
source available, and supplemented by conservative estimates,
based on the individual State s population, its general attitude
toward the candidates and the issues, and on such figures for
83 Richard to McLean, July 19, 1832; cf. ibid., October 25, 1832,
8 * McLean to Robert Walsh, July 29, 1832, McLean MSS.
85 This was due to the illness of two electors.
86 See table, Appendix IV.
154 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
local elections as can be found, it is a safe statement that of
the popular vote Jackson received about 661,000, Clay about
454,000 and Wirt about 100,000. It is therefore approx
imately correct to estimate Jackson s majority at ioo,ooo, 87
though this is some 30,000 less than Stanwood s somewhat
erroneous tabulation. 88
The National Republican and Antimasonic opposition to
Jackson owed its defeat primarily to the popularity with the
larger part of the electorate of Jackson s measures, the latter
based on his intuitive perception of the will of the masses,
reinforced by his personal popularity on the one hand, and
to the alliance of West and South, fortified by New York,
on the other hand. Jackson s policy was sufficiently ac
ceptable to the particularistic South to hold all of it loyal to
him except the nullifiers, and his strict construction attitude
toward the Bank led both South and West to join hands in
his support. For the support of New York he was largely
indebted to Van Buren and his excellent political organiza
tion, the Albany Regency, which in combination with the
Richmond Junto formed so effective an element in Jackson s
That it was not merely a victory for Jackson s character
and personality but rather for the principles upon which he
had stood was conclusively demonstrated by the complexion
of the House of Representatives elected with him. So far
was the Bank from achieving its needed two-thirds majority,
that of the 240 members of this new body 140 were admin
istration supporters. 89 Such being the case, it was entirely
natural that Jackson should regard the result of the cam
paign in general as a vindication of his constitutional prin
ciples and of his policies, and in particular as a verdict against
the Bank 90 which, aided by the National Republicans, had
challenged him to a test of strength before the country.
88 Stanwood, History of Presidential Elections, p. in.
89 Niles Register, vol. xlv, p. 228.
9/0 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 657.
To determine exactly when the terms " Democratic " and
"Democratic Republican," on the one hand, and the term
" National Republican," on the other, came to be applied to
the followers of Jackson and to those of Adams and Clay
respectively, is difficult. This cannot be categorically deter
mined since usage varied in different States. Indeed the only
sweeping statement applicable is that there never was any
uniformity or consistency generally displayed by either party
in its self -designation down to 1830; even as late as 1832
the Jacksonians referred to themselves officially as the " Re
publican party." x
The chief causes for the slow development of distinctive
party names were : first, the reluctance of the various fac
tions into which the old Republican party was split by the
campaign of 1824 to regard themselves, or even to seem to
appear, as other than the true Republican party ; second, the
fact that the campaigns of 1824 and 1828 were so largely
based upon the personalities of the candidates instead of
upon their political principles. Thus during the campaign
of 1824 the Adams, Clay, Calhoun, Crawford and Jackson
factions respectively considered themselves as parts of the
old Republican party as it had existed under Madison and
Party nomenclature began to take distinctive shape, locally
at least, during the campaign of 1824. At the beginning of
that contest the one party name in existence was "Repub
lican." Indeed the party had been mostly so styled since
1 See " Proceedings of a Convention of Republican Delegates . . .
held at Baltimore, . . . May, 1832," History Pamphlets, vol. 293,
Johns Hopkins University Library.
156 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
1 8 12, as is shown by Jefferson s letters and by Niles Regis
ter. 2 As the Adams and Clay factions inclined more toward
each other in their advocacy of a nationalistic policy as to
internal improvements, and still considered themselves and
were considered within the Republican party, the descriptive
adjective " national " began to be applied to them to differen
tiate them from the rather more particularistic followers of
Jackson and Crawford. As far as can be ascertained the
term " National Republican " was first applied to the Adams-
Clay followers in New York during the latter stages of the
campaign of 1824 when they united in the state legislature in
order to defeat the Regency s effort to choose Crawford elec
tors. Van Buren speaks of it thus : " The high minded [a
little group of anti-Clintonian Federalists] espoused the cause
of Mr. Adams zealously, and the feelings produced, or rather
revived, by that contest carried them back into the federal
ranks then called National Republicans where the sur
vivors are still  serving as Whigs." 3 However this
may have been, the term was not at all used in contemporary
newspapers and letters.
In New York politics the name " Democratic " was also
revived just prior to the opening of the national campaign of
1824. In 1818 there had been a split in the Republican party
in the State, Clinton leading one faction and Van Buren the
other. 4 The latter was dubbed by its enemies the " Buck-
tails," and about the same time began to refer to itself as the
" Democratic " party. 5 The term " Republican," however,
was still used to indicate both " Bucktails " and Clintonians. 8
As the Albany Regency under Van Buren s direction grew
in strength and its party in the State became dominant, the
term " Democratic " came to mean the Regency s party.
2 Cf. Niles Register, vols. i, ii, iii, ix, xi, xvii, xxi.
3 Van Buren Autobiography, p. 108.
4 Weed. Autobiography, p. 67.
B Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 98; Weed, p. 78; Hammond, vol.
ii, pp. 86-87, H5, 139-
6 Hammond, p. 139.
PARTY NOMENCLATURE 157
In Pennsylvania down to 1823 the general party term was
" Republican " as distinguished from " Federalist." As the
democracy of the State became more and more militant in its
support of Jackson, the popular meetings of his followers
all over the State used the term " Democrats " to describe
themselves and their political principles and referred to the
political body in which they claimed membership as the
" democratic republican party." 7 The state convention
which nominated Jackson for president was composed of
delegates appointed by the "democratic republicans of this
state." 8 At the same time however the convention referred
to the congressional caucus as being made up of a " minority
of the republican members of Congress " and its action as
being therefore a departure from " republican party " estab
lished usage. 9 This indicates that the party at large in the
country was still styled the " Republican " and that Jackson s
Pennsylvania supporters considered themselves as part of it.
So far as any generalization is possible from the above
and other instances, it appears that both general groups
the followers of Crawford and Jackson on the one hand, and
those of Adams and Clay on the other into which the old
Republican party was showing a tendency to divide by the
end of 1823, still regarded themselves as Republicans and
within the party thus designated. The terms " Democratic,"
" Democratic Republican " and " National Republican " had
come into being as party names, but their use was confined
to localities, States at most. The use of the first of these
seems to have been confined to the Regency party in New
York, that of the second to the Jacksonians in Pennsylvania,
while the third was a designation for the Adams-Clay faction
in New York plus the remnant of Federalists who joined
them. Certainly there was no general use of any party name
7 Niles Register, vol. xxv, pp. 167, 195, 242-243 ; pamphlet in A.
J. Donelson MSS. containing account of Jackson meeting at Pitts-
burg, Pa., November 14, 1823.
8 Niles Register, vol. xxvi, pp. 19-20.
9 Ibid., p. 20.
158 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
Throughout the campaign of 1828 the same characteristics
were manifested. The elimination of Crawford, the relega
tion of Calhoun and Clay to places of secondary importance,
the election of Adams, and the union between his and Clay s
followers operated to draw the line more sharply between
the two opposing factions into which the shattered old Re
publican party had coalesced by the end of 1825. No other
party name than " Republican," however, was generally used
by either faction and each considered itself the true Repub
lican party, the direct lineal descendant of that of Madison
and Monroe. 10 There is no evidence that either faction re
garded its opponent as other than a schismatic Republican
group ; indeed all the evidence points to this as the case. Clay
stated this point of view exactly in a letter to Webster near
the close of 1826 as follows : " We really have in this country
no other than a Republican party. Names may be gotten up
or kept up in particular states for local or personal purposes,
but at this time there are but two parties in the Union, that
of the administration and the opposition." 11
In local practice throughout the country the use of party
nomenclature was still inconsistent and varied. The single
definite fact and also the only definite distinction in the use
of names, as is shown in contemporary newspapers, was the
nation-wide use of " the administration party " and " the op
position party," 12 or " the friends of General Jackson " and
"the friends of the administration." 13 Conventions were
spoken of as " Adams " and " Jackson " conventions ; 14 a
voter was an " Adams man " or a " Jackson man " ; 15 and the
tickets nominated for state and local offices were known as
" the Adams ticket " and " the Jackson ticket," the individual
10 Ibid., vol. xxxi, p. 82.
11 Clay to Webster, November 10, 1826, Webster MSS.
12 Niles Register, vol. xxx, p. 335.
13 Baltimore Gazette, January 15, April 18, 1826, May 7, July 23,
1827; Baltimore American, May 23, 24, 1827; Niles Register, vol.
xxxi, p. 82.
14 Niles Register, vol. xxxiii, pp. 129-357, passim.
15 Ibid., pp. 81, 333-
PARTY NOMENCLATURE 159
candidate being the " Adams candidate " or the " Jackson
Aside from these terms based on the persons rather than
upon their principles, there was no consistency or uniformity
as to party designation. The Jackson paper in New Hamp
shire still referred to the supporters of the two parties as
"Republicans" and "Federalists." 17 The Albany Argus
spoke of " devotion to the republican cause and the interests
of the democratic party" in the same sentence and connec
tion. 18 After Jackson and Calhoun had become the party
candidates, the Argus and the United States Telegraph each
headed a column daily with " Republican National Ticket "
over the names of the two men. 19 The Richmond Enquirer
used the term " Republican " to refer to the Jackson party
where the reference was unmistakable, but where it was not
clear, used the conventional " Adams " or " Jackson " to dis
Only in Pennsylvania was there a definite drift toward the
use of " Democratic " as a distinctive term. The term " dem
ocratic republican " had been used to describe the Jackson-
ians from the time the State began to stampede to him in
i823. 21 Hence " democratic republican " continued as the
term mainly used in the campaign of 1828. Notwithstand
ing this there was a tendency to use " democratic " alone as
the party designation. This tendency is illustrated by the
references to the state convention at Harrisburg which was
referred to by the party papers as the " Democratic Conven
tion at Harrisburg." 22 It appears also in the convention s
Ibid., p. 384.
17 New Hampshire Patriot, quoted in Albany Argus, March 27,
18 Albany Argus, September 7, 1827.
19 See files of Argus and Telegraph during September and Octo
20 Richmond Enquirer, January 17, 1828.
21 Pamphlet issued by Jackson meeting at Pittsburg, Pennsylva
nia, dated November 14, 1823, Donelson MSS.
22 Pennsylvania Reporter, January n, 1828; Telegraph, January
160 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
nomination of Jackson " as the democratic candidate of Penn
sylvania " for president. 28
As to the Adams party, if Van Buren s memory was cor
rect after twenty-five years, the name " National Republican "
had been in existence since the campaign of i824, 24 but there
was certainly no general, and apparently no local, use of it
during the campaign of 1828. As has been said the party
was generally referred to among its friends as the " Repub
lican " party if the reference was unmistakable, otherwise
as the " friends of the administration " or " friends of
During the campaign of 1832, the use of party names
rested more on party principles, hence for the most part the
names of Jackson and Clay were discarded as descriptive
adjectives. As nearly as can be determined, the name " Na
tional Republican " became current during the year 1830,
about the time that party launched Clay s campaign. 25 Niles
begins using it and it begins to appear in letters about the
end of 1830 and the beginning of 183 1. 26 In the first two
months of 1831 it became fixed party usage. During the
process of effecting the party s organization in New York
City it was used exclusively ; 27 it was also used for the most
part by the state conventions held in Connecticut and Maine
at this time. 28
" National Republican " received what may be called the
final stamp of approval as the party s official title by the Na
tional Intelligencer in its issue of February 22, 1831, thus:
"National Republican is an excellent designation for a na
tional party in our republican Union. Let it be adopted
everywhere, by all who would uphold the Federal Constitu
tion ; secure the independence and continuance of the Su-
23 Telegraph. Jan. 17, 1828: Pennsylvania Reporter, Jan. 17, 1828.
24 Van Bnren, Autobiography, p. loS.
25 Seward, Autobiography, pp. 74, 76.
26 Cf. Niles Register, vol. xxxix, p. 330; P. P. F. Degrand to
Biddle. January 23, 1831, Biddle MSS.
27 National Intelligencer, January 4, February 17, 1831.
28 Ibid., February 24, March 7, 1831.
PARTY NOMENCLATURE l6l
preme Court; preserve a sound currency; possess a sub
stantive and enlightened President of the United States ; pre
vent offices from becoming the booty of mere partisans and
parasites ; and obtain a truly responsible and visible govern
ment." 28 Hence it is to be expected, and this was actually
the case, that the proceedings of the party s two conventions,
that at Baltimore in December, 1831, and that at Washington
the following May, should be printed by order of those bodies
under the respective titles of " Journal of the National Re
publican Convention " and " Proceedings of the National
Republican Convention of Young Men." 30
During the campaign the use of " Democratic " as a desig
nation for the party increased somewhat in favor with the
Jacksonians but did not by any means displace " Republican "
as the party s official title. " Democratic Republican " was,
however, the most frequently used of the three names, no
doubt in order to differentiate the party more sharply from
the National Republican. Seward states that " The cam
paign for 1832 opened with the year 1830. The Republican
party, now taking to itself the more radical name of the
Democratic party/ announced ... its determination to se
cure the reelection of Andrew Jackson." 31 Seward s mem
ory here seems at fault since the New York Courier and
Enquirer, then staunchly Jacksonian, in the same article re
ferred to the Jackson party by all three names, as " repub
lican party," " democratic party " and " democratic repub
In Pennsylvania " Democratic Republican " remained the
most prevalent term, with " Democratic " used to some ex
tent, 33 and this seems to have been the case in New Hamp-
29 Ibid., February 22, 1831.
30 History Pamphlets, vol. 293, Nos. 17, 18, Johns Hopkins Uni
31 Seward, Autobiography, p. 76.
32 New York Courier and Enquirer, March 12, 1830, in Miles
Register, vol. xxxviii, p. no.
83 Cf. Niles Register, vol. xxxvi, p. 134 ; vol. xl, p. 61 ; vol. xlii,
1 62 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
shire also. 34 A letter from Richards to McLean shows that
the Jackson ticket in Philadelphia " is called simply the Dem
ocratic ticket." 35 For all these local variations, and the
probable increased use of " Democratic Republican," 36 the
official designation of the party remained " Republican."
Thus The Globe, the Albany Argus, and the Richmond En
quirer usually referred to their party by the latter name, and
Jackson, Kendall and other leaders so designated it in their
letters. 37 This official title of the party conclusively appears
in the caption of the proceedings of its convention in Balti
more, as " A Convention of Republican Delegates." 38
To generalize categorically concerning this usage, which
was so varied and which crystallized so gradually, is venture
some. The following facts, however, seem to stand out with
some degree of clearness. As to the designation of the fol
lowers of Adams and, later, of Clay, the term " National Re
publican " may have been coined as early as the campaign of
1824, according to Van Buren, 39 or in that of 1828, accord
ing to Seward, 40 but the name certainly did not attain general
or official usage before 1830, after Clay s campaign was under
way. As to the Jackson party, the designations "Demo
cratic" and "Democratic Republican were both used in
the campaign of i824, 41 but in a few localities only. The
party, like that of Adams and Clay, still regarded itself as
the Republican party, and this name continued as the official
one to the close of the campaign of 1832, with " Democratic
Republican " gaining but not supplanting " Republican " in
34 Ibid., vol. xxxviii, p. 332.
35 Richards to McLean, October i, 1831, McLean MSS.
36 Gl obe, May i, 1832.
3T Kendall to A. G. Meriweather, May 22, 1829, Jackson to Tam
many Society, May 2, 1831, quoted in Niks Register, vol. xxxvi,
p. 241 : vol. xl, p. 229.
38 History Pamphlets, vol. 293, No. 22, Johns Hopkins University
39 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 108.
40 Seward, Autobiography, p. 64.
41 Van Buren, Autobiography, p. 98 ; pamphlet dated November
14, 1823, in Donelson MSS.
VAN BUREN S LETTER TO THE SHOCCO SPRINGS, N. C,
OWASCQ, CAYUGA COUNTY, [NEW YORK,]
October 4, 1832.
Gentlemen: Your letter of the 25th August found me at this
place. I regret extremely that the delay in its reception, occasioned
by my absence, has prevented an earlier attention to its contents.
By the resolutions which you have been appointed to communi
cate to me, I am advised that those by whom they were adopted,
desire to be informed of my sentiments "on the subjects of the
protective system and its proper adjustment, internal improvement,
the Bank of the United States, and nullification."
The right of those you represent, to be informed of my opinions
on those interesting subjects, as derived from the position in which
the favor of my fellow citizens has placed me, is undoubted ; and
in cheerfully complying with their request, I have only to regret,
that the inconvenience of the situation in which it finds me, conse
quent upon the hurry and confusion attending the further prosecu
tion of my journey, and the importance, to the fulfilment of the
objects of your constituents, of as little delay as possible in the
transmission of the communication, preclude anything like an elab
orate discussion of the subjects under consideration, if indeed such
a course would, under more favorable circumstances, be desirable to
you. The regret, however, which I might otherwise experience on
this account, is relieved by the hope, that my fellow citizens of
North Carolina, preferring, with characteristic good sense, results to
speculations, will be as well satisfied, and as effectually aided in the
intelligent bestowment of their suffrages, by a brief but explicit
avowal of my opinions, as they would be by an elaborate disserta
tion upon subjects which have been so thoroughly and diffusively
Although my official acts in relation to the protective system,
might well be regarded as rendering the avowal unnecessary, I
think it, nevertheless, proper to say, that I believe the establish
ment of commercial regulations, with a view to the encouragement
of domestic products, to be within the constitutional power of Con
gress. Whilst, however, I have entertained this opinion, it has
never been my wish to see the power in question exercised with an
oppressive inequality upon any portion of our citizens, or for the
advantage of one section of the union at the expense of another.
On the contrary, I have at all times believed it to be the sacred
duty of those who are entrusted with the administration of the
federal government, to direct its operations in the manner best
calculated to distribute as equally as possible its burthens and bless-
164 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
ings amongst the several states and the people. My views upon
this subject were several years ago spread before the people of this
state, and have since been widely diffused through the medium of
the public press. My object at that time was to invite the attention
of my immediate constituents to a dispassionate consideration of
the subject in its various bearings; being well assured, that such
an investigation would bring them to a standard, which, from its
moderation and justice, would furnish the best guarantee for the
true interests of all. If, as has been supposed, those views have
contributed in any degree to produce a state of feeling so much to
be desired, I have reason to be gratified with the result.
The approaching, and if the policy of the present Executive is
allowed to prevail, the certain and speedy extinguishment of the
national debt, has presented an opportunity for a more equitable
adjustment of the tariff, which has already been embraced by the
adoption of a conciliatory measure, the spirit of which will, I doubt
not, continue to be cherished by all who are not desirous of ad
vancing their private interests at the sacrifice of those of the public,
and who place a just value upon the peace and harmony of the
The protective system and its proper adjustment, became a sub
ject of frequent and necessary consideration, whilst I formed a
part of the cabinet; and the manner in which the president pro
posed to carry into effect the policy in relation to imposts, recom
mended in his previous messages, has since been avowed with that
frankness which belongs to his character. To this end he recom
mended " a modification of the tariff, which should produce a reduc
tion of the revenue to the wants of the government, and an adjust
ment of the duty upon imports, with a view to equal justice in rela
tion to all our national interests, and to the counteraction of foreign
policy, so far as it may be injurious to those interests." *
In these sentiments I fully concur; and I have been thus explicit
in my statement of them, that there may be no room for misappre
hension as to my own views upon the subject. A sincere and faith
ful application of these principles to our legislation, unwarped by
private interest or political design ; a restriction of the wants of
the government to a simple and economical administration of its
affairs the only administration which is consistent with the purity
and stability of the republican system; a preference in encourage
ment given, to such manufactures as are essential to the national
defence, and its extension to others in proportion as they are
adapted to our country, and of which the raw material is produced
by ourselves; with a proper respect for the rule that demands that
all taxes should be imposed in proportion to the ability and condi
tion of the contributors; would, I am convinced, give ultimate
satisfaction to a vast majority of the people of the United States,
and arrest that spirit of discontent which is now unhappily so preva
lent, and which threatens such extensive injury to the institutions
of our country.
Internal improvements are so diversified in their nature, and the
possible agency of the federal government in their construction, so
1 Quoted by Van Buren from Jackson s third annual message; cf.
Richardson, Messages and Papers, vol. ii, p. 556.
VAN BUREN S LETTER 165
variable in its character and degree, as to render it not a little dif
ficult to lay down any precise rule that will embrace the whole sub
ject. The broadest and best denned division, is that which distin
guishes between the direct construction of works of internal
improvement by the general government, and pecuniary assistance
given by it to such as are undertaken by others. In the former,
are included the right to make and establish roads and canals
within the states, and the assumption of as much jurisdiction over
the territory they occupy, as is necessary to their preservation and
use : the latter is restricted to simple grants of money, in aid of
such works, when made under state authority.
The federal government does not, in my opinion, possess the first
power specified; nor can it derive it from the assent of the state
in which such works are to be constructed. The money power, as
it is called, is not so free from difficulty. Various rules have from
time to time been suggested by those who properly appreciate the
importance of precision and certainty in the operations of the federal
power ; but they have been so frequently infringed upon by the ap
parently unavoidable action of the government, that a final and
satisfactory settlement of the questions has been prevented. The
wide difference between the definition of the power in question
upon paper, and its practical application to the operations of govern
ment, has been sensibly felt by all who have been entrusted with
the management of the public affairs. The whole subject was re
viewed in the president s Maysville message. Sincerely believing
that the best interests of the whole country, the quiet, not to say
stability, of the union, and the preservation of that moral force
which perhaps as much as any other holds it together, imperiously
required that the destructive force of legislation upon that subject,
then prevalent, should, in some proper and constitutional way, be ar
rested, I throughout gave to the measure of which that document
was an exposition, my active, zealous and anxious support.
The opinions declared by the president in the Maysville, and his
succeeding annual message, as I understand them, are as follows:
ist. That Congress does not possess the power to make and estab
lish a road or canal within a state, with the right of jurisdiction to
the extent I have stated; and that if it is the wish of the people
that the construction of such works should be undertaken by the
federal government, a previous amendment of the constitution con
ferring that power, and defining and restricting its exercise, with
reference to the sovereignty of the states, is indispensable. 2d. An
intimation of his belief that the right to make appropriations in aid
of such internal improvements as are of a national character, has
been so generally acted upon, and so long acquiesced in by the
federal and state governments, and the constituents of each, as to
justify its exercise; but, that it is nevertheless highly expedient
that even such appropriations should, with the exception of such as
relate to lighthouses, beacons, buoys, piers and other improvements,
in the harbors and navigable rivers of the United States, for the
security and facility of our foreign commerce, be deferred at least
until the national debt is paid. 3d. That if it is the wish of the
people that the agency of the federal government should be re
stricted to the appropriation of money, and extended in that form,
166 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
in aid of such undertakings, when carried on by state authority,
then the occasion, the manner and extent of the appropriation,
should be made the subject of constitutional regulation.
In these views I concurred; and I likewise participated in the
difficulties which were encountered, and expressed by the presi
dent, in adopting the principle which concedes to the federal gov
ernment the right to make appropriations in aid of works which
might be regarded as of a national character difficulties which
arose as well from the danger of considering mere usage the
foundation of the right, as from the extreme uncertainty and con
sequent insecurity of the best rule that had ever been adopted, or
that could, in the absence of a positive constitutional provision, be
established. The reasons on which these objections were founded,
are so fully stated in the document referred to, and have been so
extensively promulgated that it is unnecessary for me to repeat
them here. Subsequent reflection and experience have confirmed
my apprehensions of the injurious consequences which would prob
ably flow from the usurpation of appropriations for internal im
provements, with no better rule for the government of congress
than that of which I have spoken ; and I do not hesitate to ex
press it as my opinion, that the general and true interests of the
country would be best consulted by withholding them, with the ex
ceptions which I have already referred to, until some constitutional
regulation upon the subject has been made.
In this avowal, I am certainly not influenced by feelings of indif
ference, much less of hostility, to internal improvements. As such
they can have no enemies. I have never omitted to give them all
the proper aid in my power ; for which, by the way, I claim no par
ticular merit, as I do not believe there is an honest and sane man
in the country who does not wish to see them prosper: but their
construction, and the manner in which and the means by which they
are to be affected, are quite different questions. Rather than again
expose our legislation to all the corrupting influences of those
scrambles and combinations in congress, which have been hereto
fore witnessed, and the other affairs of the country to the injurious
effects unavoidably resulting from them, it would, in my opinion,
be infinitely preferable to leave works of the character spoken of,
and not embraced in the exception which has been pointed out, for
the present, to the supports upon which they have reposed with so
much success for the last two years, viz: state efforts and private
enterprise. If the great body of the people become convinced that
the progress of these works should be accelerated by the federal
arm, they will not refuse to come to some proper constitutional ar
rangement upon the subject. The supposition that an equitable rule,
which pays a proper respect to the interests and condition of the
different states, could fail to receive, ultimately, the constitutional
sanction, would be doing injustice to the intelligence of the country.
By such a settlement of the question, our political system, in addi
tion to the other advantages derived from it, would, in relation to
this subject at least, be relieved from those dangerous shocks which
spring from diversities of opinion upon constitutional points of deep
interest; and, in the meantime, the resources of the country would
be best husbanded by being left in the hands of those by whose
labor they are produced.
VAN BUREN S LETTER 167
I am unreservedly opposed to the renewal of the charter of the
United States bank, and approve of the refusal of the president
to sign the bill, passed for that purpose, at the last session of con
gress, as well on account of the unconstitutionality, as the impolicy
of its provisions.
I am equally opposed to the principle of nullification, as it is
called. With whatever sincerity that doctrine may be entertained
by others, I believe that it is entirely destitute of constitutional
authority, and that it could not be adopted, without drawing after it
the ultimate but certain destruction of the confederacy.
That these views will be universally acceptable to those who have
called them forth, I do not allow myself to expect. He who thinks
in a country, the interests of which are so diversified as ours, and
in respect to the constitution of which construction is made to per
form so great a part, that the purest intentions, or the most pro
found reflections, can enable him so to shape his political tenets
as to meet the approbation of all; or who is so unreasonable as to
require that those of the public service should, in all respects, cor
respond with his own, must expect to make up his account with
disappointment or deception. For myself, I cherish no such hope.
All I ask, is a fair confidence in the sincerity of the principles I
have avowed, and in the fidelity with which they will be maintained.
It is not possible that any nomination could have been more en
tirely unsolicited, by word or deed, than that which has been be
stowed upon me. Had it not been for the event to which, as I
have before said, I feel myself principally indebted for it, I should
not have hesitated to decline, however highly distinguished the
honor intended for me is felt to be. And I beg my fellow citizens
of North Carolina to believe, that, notwithstanding the deep sense
which, in common with the people of the union, I entertain of their
unwavering though unpretending patriotism and unspotted political
faith, and the high gratification I should derive from being thought
worthy of their confidence, I shall feel it a duty to be content with
whatever disposition of the question they, in the honest exercise of
their opinions, shall see fit to make.
With sentiments of high consideration, I am, gentlemen, your
M. VAN BUREN.
To Joseph H. Bryan, Josiah T. Cranberry and Memucan Hunt,
esqs., committee, &c.
This letter in pamphlet form is in the Van Buren MSS.
THE FIRST POLITICAL PARTY PLATFORM
Adopted by the National Republican Convention of young
men on May 10, 1832. This convention met at Washington,
D. C, May 7-12, 1832.
On motion of Mr. Flagg, of South Carolina, seconded by Mr.
Perkins, of Connecticut, it was
Resolved, That a committee, consisting of one individual from
each State represented in this Convention, and the District of Co
lumbia, be appointed to draft resolutions upon such subjects as
shall be deemed proper to be acted upon by this Convention.
The following gentlemen were accordingly selected for this pur
Messrs. William Paine, of Maine; E. Seymour, of Vermont; T.
Darling, of New Hampshire ; Thomas Kinnicutt, of Massachusetts ;
James Anthony, of Rhode Island; C. M. Emerson, of Connecticut;
C. Morgan, jun., of New York; J. D. Miller, of New Jersey; E. T.
McDowell, of Pennsylvania; Evan H. Thomas, of Delaware;
Thomas G. Pratt, of Maryland ; Andrew Hunter, of Virginia ;
Henry C. Flagg, of South Carolina; S. Brown, of Louisiana; Wil
liam N. Bullitt, of Kentucky ; Edward H. Gumming, of Ohio ;
Thomas P. Coleman, of the District of Columbia.
Mr. Kinnicutt, of Massachusetts, from the Committee on Resolu
tions, reported the following:
1. Resolved^ That, in the opinion of this Convention, although
the fundamental principles adopted by our fathers, as a basis upon
which to rear the superstructure of American independence, can
never be annihilated, yet the time has come when nothing short of
the united energies of all the friends of the American Republic can
be relied on, to sustain and perpetuate that hallowed work.
2. Resolved, That an adequate protection to American industry is
indispensable to the prosperity of the country; and that an aban
donment of the policy at this period would be attended with con
sequences ruinous to the best interests of the nation.
3. Resolved, That a uniform system of internal improvements sus
tained and supported by the General Government, is calculated to
secure, in the highest degree, the harmony, the strength, and the
permanency of the Republic.
4. Resolved, That the Supreme Court of the United States is the
only tribunal recognized by the constitution for deciding, in the
last resort, all questions arising under the constitution and laws of
the United States, and that, upon the preservation of the authority
and jurisdiction of that court inviolate, depends the existence of the
THE FIRST POLITICAL PARTY PLATFORM 169
5. Resolved^ That the Senate of the United States is preeminently
a conservative branch of the Federal Government; that, upon a
fearless and independent exercise of its constitutional functions, de
pends the existence of the nicely balanced powers of that Govern
ment; and that all attempts to overawe its deliberations, by the
public press, or by the national Executive, deserve the indignant
reprobation of every American citizen.
6. Resolved, That the political course of the present Executive
has given us no pledge that he will defend and support these great
principles of American policy and of the constitution ; but, on the
contrary, has convinced us that he will abandon them whenever the
purposes of party require.
7. Resolved, That the indiscriminate removal of public officers,
for a mere difference of political opinion, is a gross abuse of power ;
and that the doctrine lately "boldly preached" in the Senate of the
United States, that to the " victor belong the spoils of the enemy,"
is detrimental to the interests, corrupting to the morals, and dan
gerous to the liberties of the People of this country.
8. Resolved, That we hold the disposition shown by the present
national administration, to accept the advice of the King of Holland,
touching the northeastern boundary line of the United States, and
thus to transfer a portion of the territory and citizens of a State
of this Union to a foreign power, to manifest a total destitution
of patriotic American feeling; in as much as we consider the life,
liberty, property, and citizenship of every inhabitant of every State,
as entitled to the national protection.
9. Resolved, That the arrangement between the United States
and Great Britain relative to the colonial trade, made in pursuance
of the instructions of the late Secretary of State was procured in
a manner derogatory to the national character, and is injurious to
this country in its practical results.
10. Resolved, That it is the duty of every citizen of this Republic,
who regards the honor, the prosperity, and the preservation of our
Union, to oppose, by every honorable measure, the re-election of
ANDREW JACKSON, and to promote the election of HENRY
CLAY, of Kentucky, and JOHN SERGEANT, of Pennsylvania,
as President and Vice President of the United States. 1
1 From " Proceedings of the National Republican Convention of
Young Men, which assembled in the City of Washington, May 7,
1832." Printed, Gales and Seaton, Washington, 1832. In History
Pamphlets, vol. 293, No. 18, Johns Hopkins University Library.
THE POPULAR VOTE IN 1832
1 1, 000
both 5 781
Wirt s plurality. 1,954
Clay over both . 3,381
Clay over both . 500
Clay over both. 3,142
both. ... 13,347
Jackson s plural
ity. .. 360
Rhode Island . .
New York 2
New Jersey ....
Pennsylvania . .
Clay over Jack
Clay 1 ,200
Clay over Jack
. . , . . .
1 The above figures and estimates are based chiefly on Niles*
Register, vol. xliii, pp. 135-251 passim.
2 Antimasonic vote in New York is combined with the National
Republican, as the two parties chose the same ticket of electors.
Estimate of vote.
6 No ticket in the field.
The Papers of Nicholas Biddle.
The Papers of Andrew Jackson Donelson.
The Papers of Andrew Jackson.
The Papers of John McLean.
The Papers of Andrew Stevenson.
The Papers of Nicholas P. Trist.
The Papers of Martin Van Buren.
The Papers of Daniel Webster.
(The above are in the Manuscript Division of the
Library of Congress)
Autobiographies, Memoirs, Published Letters and
Adams, John Quincy, Memoirs, comprising portions of his diary
from 1795 to 1848. Charles Francis Adams, Editor. 12 vols.
J. B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia, 1874.
Writings. Worthington C. Ford, Editor. 7 vols. The Mac-
millan Co., New York, 1913-.
Barnes, Thurlow Weed, A Memoir of Thurlow Weed. Houghton,
Mifflin & Co., Boston, 1884.
Benton, Thomas Hart, Abridgment of the Debates of Congress
from 1789 to 1856. 16 vols. D. Appleton & Co., New York,
Thirty Years View . . . from 1820 to 1850. 2 vols. D. Apple-
ton & Co., New York, 1854.
Calhoun, John C., Correspondence. J. F. Jameson, Editor. The
Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the
Year 1899, vol. ii.
Clay, Henry, Life and Speeches. Daniel Mallory, Editor. 2 vols.
Greeley & M Elrath, New York, 1844.
Private Correspondence. Calvin Colton, Editor. Frederick
Parker, Boston, 1856.
Hamilton, James A., Reminiscences, or Men and Events at Home
and Abroad during Three-quarters of a Century. Charles
Scribner & Sons, New York, 1869.
Hammond, Jabez D., History of Political Parties in the State of
New York. 3 vols. H. E. Finney, Cooperstown, 1844.
Jefferson, Thomas, Writings. Paul L, Ford, Editor, 10 vols. G.
P. Putnam s Sons, New York, 1893-1899.
Kendall, Amos, Autobiography. William Stickney, Editor. Lee &
Shepard, Boston, 1872.
172 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
Sargent, Nathan, Public Men and Events from Monroe s Adminis
tration in 1817 to the Close of Fillmore s in 1852. 2 vols. J.
B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia, 1875.
Scott, Nancy N., Memoir of Hugh Lawson White, with selections
from his Speeches and Correspondence. J. B. Lippincott & Co.,
Seward, William H., Autobiography from 1801 to 1834. Frederick
W. Seward, Editor. D. Appleton & Co., New York, 1891.
Smith, Mrs. Samuel H., The First Forty Years of Washington So
ciety. Gaillard Hunt, Editor. Charles Scribner s Sons, New
Van Buren, Martin, Autobiography. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.
The Annual Report of the American Historical Association for
the Year 1918, vol. ii.
Webster, Daniel, Private Correspondence. Fletcher Webster,
Editor. 2 vols. Little, Brown & Co., Boston, 1857.
Weed, Thurlow, Autobiography. Harriet A. Weed, Editor. Hough-
ton, Mifflin & Co., Boston, 1884.
American State Papers, Foreign Relations, vol. v. Gales & Seaton,
Annals of the Congress of the United States, i8th Congress, ist
Session, vol. i. Gales & Seaton, Washington, 1856.
Messages and Papers of the Presidents, vol. ii. James D. Richard
son, Compiler. Government Printing Office, 1896.
Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, vol. iii.
Little & Brown, Boston, 1848.
Congressional Debates, vol. viii, part i, 22nd Congress, ist Session.
Gales & Seaton, Washington, 1833.
House Report, No. 460, 22nd Congress, ist Session.
Senate Journal, 22nd Congress, ist Session.
Senate Document No. 17, 23rd Congress, 2nd Session.
(Files of these papers in Library of Congress unless
The Albany Argus.
The Baltimore American. Library of the Maryland Historical So
The Baltimore Gazette. Library of the Maryland Historical So
The Daily Globe. [Washington].
The Marylander. [Baltimore]. Library of the Maryland Historical
The Morning Courier and Enquirer. [New York].
The National Gazette. [Philadelphia].
The National Intelligencer. [Washington].
Niles Weekly Register. [Baltimore].
The Pennsylvania Reporter and Democratic Herald. [Harrisburg].
The Richmond Enquirer.
The United States Telegraph. [Washington].
The Anti-Masonic Review, I, II. In collection of Antimasonic
Pamphlets of the Maryland Historical Society.
" Proceedings of a Convention of Delegates from the different
counties in the State of New York opposed to Free-Masonry.
Held ... in the City of Albany on the 19, 20, and 2ist day of
February, 1829." Antimasonic Pamphlets of Maryland His
" The Proceedings of the United States Antimasonic Convention
held at Philadelphia, September n, 1830, embracing the Journal
of Proceedings, the Reports, the Debates and the Address to
the People." Antimasonic Pamphlets of the Maryland Histori
" Proceedings of the Second United States Antimasonic Convention,
held at Baltimore, September, 1831, Journal and Reports, nomi
nations of candidates for President and Vice President of the
United States, Letters of Acceptance, Resolutions and Address
to the People." Antimasonic Pamphlets of the Maryland His
"Journal of the National Republican Convention, which assembled
in the City of Baltimore, Dec. 12, 1831. . . . Published by order
of the Convention," History Pamphlets, vol. 293, Johns Hop
kins University Library.
" Proceedings of the National Convention of Young Men which
assembled in the City of Washington May 7, 1832." History
Pamphlets, vol. 293, Johns Hopkins University Library.
" Summary of the Proceedings of a Convention of Republican Dele
gates, for the several states in the Union, for the purpose of
nominating a candidate for the office of Vice President of the
United States; held at Baltimore, in the State of Maryland,
May, 1832." History Pamphlets, vol. 293, Johns Hopkins Uni
Pamphlet issued by a " Democratic Republican Meeting " held " at
the court house in the City of Pittsburg on Friday evening,
November I4th, 1823," by citizens of Allegheny County " friendly
to the election of Andrew Jackson." In the Andrew J. Donel-
son Papers, Library of Congress.
Pamphlet "Letter from Martin Van Buren in reply to the letter
of a Committee appointed at a public meeting held at Shocco
Springs, North Carolina." In the Van Buren Papers, Library
Adams, Henry, The Degradation of Democratic Dogma. Brooks
Adams, Ed. Macmillan, New York, 1919.
History of the United States . . . 1801-1816. 9 vols. Charles
Scribner s Sons, New York, 1891.
Life of Albert Gallatin. J. B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia,
Ambler, Charles H., Thomas Ritchie, a Study in Virginia Politics.
Bell Book & Stationery Co., Richmond, 1913.
Bassett, John Spencer, Life of Andrew Jackson. 2 vols. Double-
day, Page & Co., Garden City, New York, 1911.
174 THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1832
Catterall, Ralph C. H., The Second Bank of the United States.
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1903.
Channing, Edward, History of the United States, 1789-1815. 4 vols.
Macmillan, New York, 1912-1917.
Houston, David F., A Critical Study of Nullification in South Caro
lina. Longmans, Green & Co., New York, 1896.
Hunt, Gaillard, John C. Calhonn. George W. Jacobs & Co., Phila
McCarthy, Charles, The Antimasonic Party; A Study of Political
Antimasonry in the United States, 1827-1840. The Annual Re
port of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902,
vol. i, Chap. XVI.
McMaster, John Bach, A History of the People of the United
States from the Revolution to the Civil Way, 8 vols. D.
Appleton & Co., New York, 1884-1913.
Oberholtzer, Ellis P., Philadelphia, A History of the City and
People. 4 vols. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Philadelphia,
Parton, James, Life of Andrew Jackson. 3 vols. Mason Brothers,
New York, 1860.
Scharf, J. Thomas, The Chronicles of Baltimore. Turnbull
Brothers, Baltimore, 1874.
Stanwood, Edward, A History of Presidential Elections, 3rd ed.
revised. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston, 1892.
Adams, John Quincy, initial po
litical strength of, 13-14;
elected President by House
through Clay s support, 19;
political effects on, of appoint
ing Clay to State Department,
21 ; effect of his inaugural and
first annual messages, 22-23;
opposition to, forming, 23;
overwhelming defeat in 1828,
30-31 ; approached by Antima-
sons in campaign of 1832, 44;
rumors of Antimasonic nomi
nation of, at Baltimore, 48.
Addresses, political, character
of, and difference from plat
Albany Argus, mouthpiece of the
Regency, edited by Crosswell,
Albany Regency, character and
power of, in New York, 12;
loses control of the State, 18-
19; regains control, 25-26; re-
allied with Junto, 25-26; ef
fective support of Jackson in,
Alliance, first instance of, be
tween South and West, 31 ; po
litical , between Virginia and
New York, 12, 20, 25-26.
Antimasonic Convention, used
locally by the party from out
set, 34; significance of, at Al
bany, 34-35 ; call for, at Phila
delphia, 35-36; at Philadel
phia, 38-42; probability of
nomination of McLean by, at
Baltimore, 44-45, 47-48; at
Baltimore, 45-52; precedents
Antimasonic party, origin of, 29;
union with Adams followers
in New York causes split in,
3O, 33; leaders of, desire to
use movement for political
ends, 33, 35-37, 4O-4I ; ele
ments comprising, 32; commit
tee of, appointed at Utica,
analogous to present party na
tional committee, 34; signifi
cance for, of Albany conven
tion, 34; holds first national
party convention, 38-42; op
posed to Jackson, 36; spreads
rapidly in North, 37; Clay s
attitude toward, 43 ; holds first
national nominating conven
tion, 45-52; Wirt s attitude
toward, 49-51, 142-143; union
with National Republicans in
New York, 145-146; causes of
defeat in 1832.
Bank, United States, Jackson s
attitude toward, 105-106, 123-
124; nature of, 106-108; efforts
to secure Jackson s good will
for, 109-110; effect of Jack
son s first message on, in;
becomes identified with Na
tional Republican party, 118-
119; expenditures for propa
ganda, 120-121, 150-151 ; Mc-
Lane s report on, 121-123;
National Republican party
adopts, as chief issue, 125; ap
plies for recharter, 128; con
gressional reports on, 133; the
central campaign issue, 134;
recharter of, vetoed, 134, 149.
Barber, James, 67, 70.
Barber, Philip, 49, 91, 144, 145.
Barry, William T., 75, 77, 89-90,
Ben ton, Thomas H., on effect of
internal improvements on cam
paign of 1824, 15; on rejection
of Van Buren s nomination,
93; leads in fight against re-
charter, 118, 120, 133.
Berrien, J. McP., 73, 76, 77, 79,
Biddle, Nicholas, president of
the Bank, 105-106; clashes
with the administration, 105-
109; urges efforts to counter
act effect of President s opin
ions, 111-113, n6; Clay s ad
vice to, against application for
recharter, 115-116; campaign
for recharter, 117, 124, 128-
130; involves Bank deeper in
party politics, 119-120; works
for Bank rather than for Clay
and National Republicans, 130.
Binney, Horace, 118, 129.
Blair, F. P., 84, 90.
Branch, John, 73, 76, 89.
Brooke, Francis, 55, 66, 114.
Blount, Willie, 132.
Burrows, Silas E., 120.
Ca binet, membership, 74-76 ;
dissolved, 88-89; new cabinet,
89-90; friends of Bank in, 121.
Cadwalader, Thomas, 118, 126-
Calhoun, John C, initial political
strength, 13-14; loses Penn
sylvania and becomes candi
date for Vice President, 18;
grounds for supporting Jack
son, 21-22, 73, 74; loses favor
with Jackson, 77-80; breach
with Jackson, 81 ; friends of,
plot to oust Jackson from
party leadership, 83-86; de
feats Van Buren s nomination
as minister, 93-95; followers
of, oppose Van Buren s nomi
nation at Baltimore, 95 ;
schemes of friends of, in cam
paign of 1832, 143-145.
Cambreleng, C. C., 26, 92, 94, 131.
Cameron, Simon, 98, 103-104.
Campaign, of 1824, character and
effect of, on old Republican
party, 13; candidates, 13-14;
Campaign, of 1828, opening, 21-
23 ; issues, 23, 30-31 ; course
of, 26-27 ; definite party align
ment visible in, by 1826, 27;
Campaign, of 1832, essentially
different from those of 1824
and 1828, 135 ; issues of, Jack
son s party doctrines, 135-139;
enters last stage, 139; opinions
as to result of, 142-143, 152-
153; nature of Jackson s vic
tory in, 154; estimate of popu
lar vote in, 170.
Carroll, Charles, of Carrollton,
70, 103, 140-141.
Catron, John, in.
Catterall, Professor R. H. C.,
error as to Jackson s attitude
toward recharter in December,
Caucus, congressional, general
dissatisfaction with, 15, 17; re
volt against, born in West, 17 ;
completely discredited, 20.
Clay, Henry, initial political
strength, 14; nominated by
state caucus, 70; union with
Adams, 19-21 ; leader of na
tionalists, 53 ; letter to Webster
as to future course, 53; 1832
campaign of, launched, 56-60;
nomination by party certain,
60-61 ; nominated, 68; advises
Biddle against applying for re-
charter, ii3Kii6; doubtful
prospect for election of, 65-
66, 125, 151-152; urges Bank
to apply for recharter at once,
125-126; defeat in 1832, 153;
popular vote for, 154, 170.
Convention, precedents of pro
cedure established by State of
Pennsylvania, 18, 20, 28-29;
used from outset by Antima-
spns, 34; precedents of Na
tional, established by Antima-
sons, 42, 46, 52; by National
Republicans, 68-69, 7 1 ; by
Democrats, 98-99, 100-102,
103, 104. See Nominating
convention ; Antimasonic con
vention ; National Republican
convention ; Democratic-Re
Crawford, William H., initial
political strength, 13-15; fa
vored by Virginia and New
York leaders, 15 ; leading can
didate in 1823, 16; nominated
by congressional caucus, 17;
loses New York, 18-19; with
draws from national politics,
22; attitude of followers in
supporting Jackson in 1828,
27-28, 74; discloses Calhoun s
hostility to Jackson in 1818,
Dallas, G. M., 91, 96, 100, 128,
Daniel, P. V., 100, 147, 149.
Democratic party, its doctrines
the policies of Jackson in 1828-
1832, 136; used with "Repub
lican " to distinguish Jackso-
nian from National Republi
cans, 156-160, 161-162.
tion, need for, 96; origin of,
97 ; character of delegations
to, 97-99; proceedings at Bal
timore, 99-103 ; precedents es
tablished by, 98-99, 100-102,
103, 104; significance of, 104.
Eaton, John H., 75, 77-79, 89.
Eaton, Mrs. John H., wives of
Calhoun s friends shun, 77-78;
Jackson s failure to force her
into society, 78; effect of, on
political future of Calhoun
and Van Buren, 78^-79.
Election. See Campaign.
Ellmaker, Amos, 41, 50.
Forsyth, John, 49, 80-81, 147.
Floyd, John, 143, 153.
Gallatin, Albert, 116-117.
Globe, The, 84, 85-86, 88, 97, "8.
Green, Duff, 24, 75; becomes
hostile and is removed as party
editor, 83; heads plot to re
place Jackson with Calhoun as
party leader, 83-85; publishes
Grundy, Felix, 63, 105.
Hamilton, Alexander, 113, 132.
Hamilton, James A., 75, 80, 92,
Hayne-Webster debate, effect on
Calhoun s political prospects,
Harrisburg convention, 1832, 95-
Hemphill, Joseph, 112.
Hill, Isaac, 77, 90, 96-97.
Indian removals, campaign issue,
Ingersoll, Charles Jared, lobbyist
for Bank, 119-120, 129-130.
Ingham, S. D., 28, 73, 75, 77, 79,
89; clashes with Biddl e while
head of Treasury, 108-110.
Internal improvements, effect on
party alignment in 1823, 15-
16; a vital part of National
Republican doctrine, 56 ; Mays-
ville veto of, used by National
Republicans as initial cam
paign issue, 56-59.
Jackson, Andrew, initial politi
cal strength, 17-18, 19-20;
nominated by state legislative
caucus, 17; nominated by first
state nominating convention
in Pennsylvania, 18; plurality,
1824, 19; support of, 1828, 24;
necessity of carrying two of
largest States, 25 ; election of,
in 1828, 30; character of sup
port of, in 1828, 72-74; breach
with Calhoun, 81-82; candi
date for reelection, 86-88; dis
misses Calhoun members of
cabinet, 88-89; attitude toward
Bank, 105-106, no, 116, 123-
124; nature of his victory in
1832, 154, 170.
Jefferson, Thomas, n, 14-15;
anniversary dinner, 79.
Johnson, R. M., candidate for
Vice President in 1832, 91 ;
withdraws in Van Buren s
favor, 94 ; Kentucky delegation
instructed for, 98 ; receives
vote of Kentucky, Illinois and
Indiana delegations at Balti
Johnston, J. S., 57.
Jones, Walter, makes first speech
seconding a nomination, 59.
Kendall, Amos, 77, 90, 96-97.
King, William R., 100-102.
" Kitchen Cabinet," raison d etre,
76; personnel, 77; promotes
Jackson s candidacy for reelec
tion, 87 ; used by Jackson more
for political management, 90;
connection with the party con-
vention at Baltimore, 96; National Republican Party,
solidly against Bank except Adams defeat makes Clay
Lewis, 121. leader of, 53-54; launches
campaign in 1830, 56-59; or-
Lacock, Abner, 60. ganiration of, in New York,
Lewis, W. B., 77; with Eaton, 60; Maysville veto fails to
informs Jackson of Forsyth strengthen, 62-63 ; adopts cause
letter, 80; influence weakened of Bank as chief issue, 118-
by advocacy of Bank, 90, 100, 119; leaders of, urge imme-
no; letter to Kendall suggest- diate application for recharter
ing party nominating conven- by Bank, 126-130; gloomy
tion, 96-97. prospect of, 141 ; unites with
Livingston, Edward, 89, 121, 133. Antimasons in New York, 145-
Livingston, Peter R., makes first 146; fails of complete success
nominating speech in conven- in Kentucky, 151-152; causes
tion, 68. for defeat of, in 1832, 154;
Lucas, General Robert, 100. name of, 156, 160-161.
New York, in political alliance
Marcy, W. L., 92, 146. with Virginia, n ; alliance dis-
Marshall, John, warns Clay of solved, 20-21; alliance recon-
violent opposition forming, structed with New York in
23; sounded as to accepting . T . le ^ d 2 5~26.
Antimasonic nomination, 49. Nicholl, Josiah, 114-115.
Maysville veto. See under In- Niles, Hezekiah, first suggestion
ternal Improvements and Na- for national nominating con-
tional Republican party. vention contained in letter to,
McDuffie, 127-128, 131, 132-133. l6 ; at National Republican
McLane, Louis, 89-90; report on convention, 66 n.
Bank, 112; active in behalf of Nominating convention, first
Bank, 121-122; effects of his suggestions for national, 16;
report 123-124 127 introduced by Jacksomans in
McLean, John, sounded by Pennsylvania 18; highest de-
Antimasonic leaders, 37-38, velopment of, on state scale,
42-43; agrees conditionally to 2 ? first national, 45-52. See
on outcome of campaign, 142- Noryall) j ohn> II3> I2O
I4 3- Nullification, connection of, with
VT * T 11. ^ campaign of 1832, 136, 138-
National Intelligencer, 61, 120, j, o v
National Republican convention, Panama m i ss i on , center of oppo-
a following of Antimasonic sition attack, 23.
example, 60-61 ; advocated by Party names , derivation and uses
local conventions, 61-62; dele- o f f 155-162.
gates elected to, 64; chief ob- p arty platform, first use of, 140,
ject of, 65; session at Balti- 168-169.
more, 66-70 ; precedents es- Pennsylvania, stampedes to Jack-
tablished by, 71; calls conven- son in 1823, 18; leads in de-
tion of young men, 70, 139; velopment of the nominating
proceedings of young men, convention, 28-29; attitude
139-141. toward internal improvements,
55-56; hostile to Van Buren,
. 91 ; nominates Wilkins for
Vice President, 95-96; passes
resolutions favoring recharter
Randolph, John, 23, 123.
Removals, from office, Jackson s
motive for, the effects of, 136-
Republican party, old, drift to
ward nationalism, 12-13 > split
into five factions by campaign
of 1824, 21 ; all factions regard
themselves as the true, 155;
retained as official designation
of Jackson party as late as
1832, 155, 162.
Richards, B. W., 141.
Richmond Enquirer, mouthpiece
of Junto, 12.
Richmond Junto, power in Vir
ginia politics, 12; relations
broken off with Regency, 21-
22; alliance of, with Regency
reconstituted, 25-26; effective
support of Jackson in 1832,
Ritchie, Thomas, suggests na
tional nominating convention,
12, 16; warns Van Buren of
political danger in Virginia,
Sergeant, John, 43, 69.
Seward, William H., 35 ; on com
mittee to sound Adams as to
Antimasonic nomination, 44;
delegate to Baltimore conven
tion, 48-49; his account of
Wirt s nomination, 49-50.
Shocco Springs, North Carolina,
political meeting, 147; Van
Buren s reply to inquiries from
committee of, 148-150, 163-
" Siamese Twin Party," 146.
Smith, General Samuel, relations
with Bank, 112, 121, 123, 128;
on effect of Bank s application
for recharter, 134.
Stevens, Thaddeus, favors Anti-
masonic nominations at Phila
delphia in 1830, 41 ; favors
forcing nomination on McLean
at Baltimore, 49-50.
Sumner, Frederick, 99.
Taney, Roger B., Attorney-Gen
eral, oo; against Bank, 121,
133; probable writer of part
of Jackson s Bank veto mes
Telegraph, United States, 24, 83-
86, 1 20, 129.
Two-thirds rule, originated and
applied by Democratic-Repub
lican convention, 100-101.
Unit rule, originated by Demo
Van Buren, Martin, head of Re
gency, 12; leader of Crawford
forces, 16; comes out for Jack
son, 23; reestablishes New
York-Virginia alliance in sup
port of Jackson, 25-26; Secre
tary of State, 74-75; nomi
nated minister to Great Britain,
90; Jackson s preference for,
91 ; in touch with political situ
ation, 92; nomination rejected,
912-93; party* leaders united
upon, for Vice President, 93-
94; directs campaign in New
York, 146 ; views on campaign
issues, 148-149, 163-167.
Vice Presidency, Calhoun candi
date for, 18-19, 32; candidates
for, in 1832, 91, 95-96, 144.
Virginia, aversion to Jackson,
25 ; political situation in, 99.
Virginia-New York alliance,
character, n ; dissolved, 20;
reestablished with New York
in lead, 25-26.
Vote, popular, in 1832, 170.
Webb, James W., 128, 129.
Webster, Daniel, Clay s letters to,
on campaign of 1828, 27, 30,
on plans for campaign of 1832,
53 ; watching administration
for opening issue, 54; letter
to Gay as to launching cam
paign, 56^-57; opinion of Cal-
houn s difficulty, 82; Biddle
asks aid from, 112, 118, 120;
insistent on application for re-
charter by Bank, 127, 129:
work in Congress for re- Green s plot against Jackson s
charter of Bank, 133; Clay s leadership, 84.
gloomy letter to, over prospect Wirt, William, attitude toward
in Kentucky, 151-152. Antimasons, 49-51 ; letter to
Weed, Thurlow, 33, 34, 35, 37, McLean on political outlook,
38, 47, 49, 50, 146. I42-U1
Welles, J ^" " r T - 1
reverb Duff Woodbury, Levi, 90, 133-
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